PORTLAND, Maine, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- FairPoint Communications today alerted consumers to be aware of actions they may be exposed to related to the ongoing IBEW and CWA strike against the company.
As the unions continue their strike, they are utilizing a tactic called "mobile picketing." While the unions can engage in strike activity anyplace FairPoint replacement workers are providing customer services, this mobile picketing is intended to distract the workforce and disrupt service to customers – sometimes illegally. The company wants to inform the community about what to expect.
Mobile picketing often begins with union members or union sympathizers following FairPoint workers from a garage to a job site, including customers' homes. Once on site, this type of picketing can include groups of people circling a worker on a job, the use of bullhorns and whistles, taunting and other tactics intended to intimidate the person trying to serve customers. When the behavior actually interferes with the completion of the work, for example by blocking trucks, blowing air horns in employees ears, or crowding so close the workers cannot do their jobs, the strikers are violating the law.
Whether or not the particular conduct is lawful, it may be disturbing to customers and members of the community. The company has documented dozens of these types of incidents across northern New England, and it regrets customers and communities must endure these tactics. FairPoint advises customers to avoid confrontations with the mobile picketers, but if subjected to these activities, customers have the legal right to ask the picketers to stay off private property and to report illegal behavior, including trespass, to the police.
FairPoint also repeated the company's concern over recent incidents of sabotage and vandalism, including the sabotage on Sunday of fiber optic cables serving equipment providing broadband and voice service for part of Brentwood, New Hampshire. Employees have also experienced flat tires after passing through or near picket lines. The company reiterated its offer of a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any persons tampering with, damaging, or destroying its network or equipment.
FairPoint is working closely with law enforcement agencies across northern New England to increase monitoring of infrastructure and asks that customers or members of the public who see something unusual notify local law enforcement immediately.
"These acts of vandalism are aimed at harming the company," said FairPoint spokesperson Angelynne Beaudry. "However, such senseless acts are also a potential hazard to public safety and could result in someone's life being put in jeopardy."
Beaudry explained that FairPoint's first commitment is to maintain a reliable network capable of providing access to emergency 9-1-1 services. The acts of vandalism the company has experienced in recent weeks could put access to 9-1-1 services at risk for affected customers.
In addition to reporting all suspicious activity to local law enforcement, anyone with information, or who witnesses suspicious activity, is asked to call 866-348-1675.
About FairPoint Communications, Inc.
FairPoint Communications, Inc. ( Nasdaq: FRP) provides advanced data, voice and video technologies to single and multi-site businesses, public and private institutions, consumers, wireless companies, and wholesale re-sellers in 17 states. Leveraging an owned, fiber-core Ethernet network — including more than 16,000 route miles of fiber in northern New England — FairPoint has the network coverage, scalable bandwidth and transport capacity to support enhanced applications, including the next generation of mobile and cloud-based communications, such as small cell wireless backhaul technology, voice over IP, data center colocation services, managed services and disaster recovery. For more information, visit www.FairPoint.com.
SOURCE FairPoint Communications, Inc.