W.Va. telecom workers strike Frontier to defend jobs

By Emma Johnson
March 19, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Some 1,400 members of the Communications Workers of America went on strike across West Virginia and in Ashburn, Virginia, March 4, when 10 months of negotiations for a new contract between the union and Frontier Communications broke down. The contract had been extended twice since it first expired last August.

“This strike is about job security. I’ve had this job for two years and without a contract that defends me, I’ll be axed,” Jeff Ware told the Militant on the picket line here March 6. He works in the company’s offline department. “Those who’ve got more seniority were offered better pay to sign, but refused in solidarity with those like me,” he added.

Workers at the picket line said that since 2010 the company has cut 500 jobs at its sites in West Virginia and in Ashburn and now wants to cut 200 more beginning next month.

“Frontier wants to grant seniority only to those hired before 2003,” Ware said. “They say we’re greedy, but this isn’t about wages. This is about our jobs and having a union.”

“The school workers strike is an inspiration to us,” Ware said. “But we had no choice but to walk out anyway.”