Roxy Todd Published

W.Va. Judge Grants Restraining Order Against Union Members on Strike


Updated March 17, 2018 12:00 p.m.:

A West Virginia judge has granted Frontier Communications a temporary restraining order against its protesting employees. Roughly 1,400 Frontier Communications employees in West Virginia and Ashburn, Virginia, represented by the Communication Workers of America have been striking since March 4 after union leaders and the company failed to reach a contract agreement.

Original Story Published March 16 :

About 1,400 Frontier Employees have been on strike in various locations across West Virginia for the past two weeks.

On Thursday afternoon, March 15, telecommunications firm Frontier Communications filed an injunction in Kanawha County Circuit Court against those protesting employees, asking the court to force them to leave company property.

In the injunction, Frontier alleges that some of the striking employees “have embarked down a dangerous and lawless road throughout Kanawha County and elsewhere in West Virginia.” The company claims that there have been “threats of violence against Frontier’s employees and contractors and actual violence against Frontier’s employees and contractors.”

The Communication Workers of America, which represents the striking Frontier employees responded to the injunction, calling it “an overreaction by the company to the lawful activity of our striking members. The court has given the parties until Monday evening to come to an agreement on the parameters of that activity during this strike, and we will work to ensure that our members’ rights are protected.”


Credit Kara Lofton/ WVPB
Frontier employees Gene Hall and Benjamin Norman, CWA union members on strike outside Frontier building in downtown Charleston.

One of the more than 1,000 workers on strike, Timmyle Larrabee, was picketing in downtown Charleston, outside the Frontier building on Lee Street on Thursday afternoon. She said better pay isn’t the main concern for her. “We’re more concerned about job stability. We’re finding more and more of our positions are going out to third-party vendors, both domestic and abroad, but certainly very few of them to our home state of West Virginia.”

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reached out to Frontier Communications, but the company declined an interview and wouldn’t disclose the number of positions the company contracts out to third-party vendors. They also wouldn’t say how many positions they’ve cut in West Virginia in the past year.

“Our objective in these negotiations has been, and continues to be, to preserve good jobs with competitive wages and excellent benefits while addressing the needs of our ever-changing business,” a Frontier spokesperson said in an email.

The company would not comment further on the status of negotiations with the union or its employees.