Paul H. Sunu
Chief Executive Officer
521 E Morehead Street, Suite 500
Charlotte, NC 28202
Dear Mr. Sunu:
It has now been 61 days since the beginning of the FairPoint strike and 136 days since FairPoint's labor contract expired.
We are extremely disappointed that FairPoint management has not come back to the bargaining table with any meaningful concessions to end this strike. It is becoming increasingly clear to Vermonters that management is more concerned with the interests of corporate owners of FairPoint than negotiating a reasonable agreement that is fair to your workers and customers.
It is imperative that FairPoint returns to the bargaining table as soon as possible, negotiates in good faith, and allows its experienced and dedicated employees to get back to work. We are prepared to do whatever we can to help FairPoint's workers and management reach a compromise in these very difficult times
Failure to reach a fair agreement with your workers is not only hurting them, it is negatively affecting your customers and the services that you are required to provide. Since the strike began, Vermont's Department of Public Service has received more than 600 complaints from FairPoint's customers.
A November 28 equipment failure caused an almost six-hour outage of Vermont's E-911 system, resulting in nearly 100 missed calls from Vermonters trying to reach emergency dispatchers at the Vermont State Police, Montpelier Police, and Vermont Gas. It is no exaggeration to say that FairPoint's failure to report, respond and repair the damage in a timely manner literally endangered the lives and property of Vermonters. That is completely unacceptable.
In fact, your company's poor response to that incident has us seriously questioning how FairPoint can possibly fulfill the obligations of the recently awarded $10 million contract to provide Enhanced 911 services for Vermont for the next five years. This service is no small matter -- it is critical to the health and safety of Vermonters. Given the inadequate service you now provide, why should Vermonters believe you can adequately provide E-911 in the future?
Most recently, a December 12 hardware failure during routine maintenance -- reportedly by outsourced contractors -- caused a widespread Internet outage across Vermont and New Hampshire, affecting tens of thousands who rely on their Internet connections for safety, education, healthcare or business.
These are just some examples of how FairPoint's refusal to settle with the union and bring back its experienced workforce has created chaos here in Vermont. In New Hampshire, there have been many similar reports of customer complaints and public safety system failures.
We urge you to get back to the bargaining table, negotiate in good faith, and agree to a reasonable compromise that both parties can accept.