When Frontier bought nearly five million rural lines in multiple states from Verizon, it also inherited Verizon’s agreements with workers represented by the Communications Workers of America union. And as news breaking late Friday afternoon in West Virginia reveals, Frontier appears to have acquired some headaches in the process.
According to WTRF, a local news outlet, the CWA on Friday filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment against Frontier West Virginia for what the CWA claims is a breach of a collective bargaining agreement. The suit argues that Frontier has not met its obligation to continue agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOU) between the CWA and Verizon in effect until August 2013.
At issue is an MOU which the CWA says requires the continuation of existing positions of health care benefits coordinator and retiree health care benefits coordinator—and to pay coordinators in compliance with the union’s International Staff Representative wage table.
Writes the WTRF:
“According to the suit, the parties were unable to resolve differences, so the union filed a grievance protesting Frontier’s ‘refusal to establish and properly pay the four coordinator positions.”
But according to the suit—and apparently according to Frontier—the dispute is not “arbitrable” under the agreement between the parties.
“This is why plaintiffs say they have no adequate remedy to address their grievances, other than filing a lawsuit,” WTRF reported.
West Virginia was one of the last states to approve Frontier’s acquisition of Verizon lines —and concerns expressed by labor unions were a key reason the approval process took so long.
The WTRF post didn’t state whether any of Frontier’s West Virginia workers were subject to the same recently expired contract that Verizon and its unions are still trying to re-negotiate after a recent strike in certain primarily Eastern markets.