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Union Says Majority Favors FairPoint Strike Authorization

There have been further delays in the final tally of voting by FairPoint Communications employees on whether to give their unions the authority to call a strike, but union officials say its clear the majority of workers  have voted for the authorization.

The voting is taking place in the three New England states served by FairPoint.

Mike Spillane with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Vermont says voting has been completed in Vermont and Maine, but delays persist in New Hampshire.

 “They have some more dates early next week before they finalize the vote, but I think by Tuesday everything should be finalized and we’ll be tallying up the three states so we know exactly where we stand,” says Spillane.

The IBEW represents about 1800 workers in the three states. Another 200 members of the Communications Workers of America are also voting.

An affirmative vote doesn't automatically result in a strike, and any action  would occur after contracts expire on August 2.  

The company and unions have been in contract talks but the union say the two sides are far apart. 

In a statement issued over the weekend, FairPoint said, "The outcome is not a surprise since this strike authorization vote is a part of their process. As any prudent company would, we have plans to ensure our services to our customers continue without interruption in the event of one."

(This story has been updated to reflect IBEW's release of preliminary voting results and FairPoint's response)

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