Frontier, IBEW Say FCC Special Access Price Cut Could Compromise Union Workers

FierceTelecom By Sean Buckley

Frontier Communications and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) recently told the FCC during a meeting that the regulator’s proposal to cut business data services (BDS) prices could have repercussions on the ILEC’s union workforce.

Like its fellow ILEC brothers AT&T and CenturyLink, Frontier’s workforce is represented by the IBEW and Communications Workers of America (CWA) unions.

“Tens of thousands of IBEW members install, maintain, and support the business data services (BDS) provided by incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) like Frontier,” Frontier and IBEW said in a letter to the FCC. “IBEW and Frontier explained that if the FCC imposes BDS price cuts — at a time when there has never been more competition in the BDS market — it would undermine investment, hurt competition, and ultimately put thousands of union jobs at risk.”

The pair pointed out that CLECs, wireless operators and cable operators don’t use unionized labor, meaning that their workforces can’t get access to similar salaries or access to health care benefits.

“Meanwhile, competitive local exchange carriers, wireless companies (with the notable exception of AT&T), and cable companies generally block organized labor and do not provide the same level of pay, benefits, or working conditions,” Frontier and IBEW said. “Considering that BDS agreements are most often agreements between large, well-capitalized companies, the Commission should not penalize companies that use organized labor by artificially favoring those that do not.”

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