(01/24/2014)
UPDATE - Frontier Communications and the Communications Workers of America have extended their contract for workers in West Virginia again.

Shortchanged in the previous contract was 150 legacy workers that originally worked for Frontier. It's the third contract extension since negotiations on a new agreement began seven months ago.

Frontier said Sunday that the latest extension will run until April 5 while negotiations continue.

The contract originally was scheduled to expire Aug. 2, 2013. It covers 1,550 workers in West Virginia.

The contract covers former Verizon employees who became Frontier employees when Frontier Communications purchased Verizon's landlines in West Virginia as part of a multi-state, $8.6 billion dollar deal in 2009.

It was not clear where Frontier's 150 legacy workers stand with the current negotiations.

Those workers are the longtime employees in West Virginia's most rural counties like Calhoun.

The company has been paying their acquired Verizon workers at a higher rate of pay than the legacy workers.

The legacy employees have been compensated at $6-per-hour less than Verizon employees, although they work side-by-side.

ORIGINAL STORY - About 150 long-time Frontier Communication's workers primarily in WV's rural counties, including Calhoun's longtime employees, have been left behind with wages and benefits when Frontier purchased Verizon's West Virginia land-line business in 2010.

With the current contract negotiations extended, union spokesperson Elaine Harris told the Hur Herald, "We did agree to extend the contract until October 12th. We have a proposal in the current negotiations to bring the bargaining units all under one - not to bring anyone down - but to bring the Legacy workers up."

The "legacy" employees have been compensated at $6-per-hour less than Verizon employees, although they work side-by-side.

The legacy employees, through the Communication Workers of America, have protested and Frontier has denied the same rate as their other workers.

Frontier is yet to give a reasonable explanation why they have short-changed their original WV employees.

Meanwhile, Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter's total compensation jumped from $4.8 million to $8.6 million. In 2010 her salary and benefits jumped 77%.

Frontier's board of directors, following the purchase of Verizon, awarded their top five executives with bonuses and stock awards totaling $5.4 million, according to Letha Perry, president of CWA Local 2001.

Perry said while rewarding executives, the company is demanding concessions, including increases to employees health care and raising rates on retirees.

"These are the men and women who have been the foundation of the company. It is yet another example of corporations shifting more and more costs to workers," Perry said.

Frontier West Virginia operations chief Dana Waldo has said that the union's contract demands were "rich and unrealistic."

"The priority for Frontier's top executives is to cut middle-class jobs and enrich themselves," said Harris.

"We're fighting for our futures and our families," she said.

Frontier has an estimated 1,500 employees.


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