Frontier employs roughly 1,600 Connecticut residents across the state, who serve as technicians, call center representatives, dispatchers, engineers and other technical personnel that support Frontier's network in CT. We, the workers of Frontier, are members of CWA Local 1298.
As Frontier came out of bankruptcy in 2021, we fought to protect union jobs and get a commitment from Frontier to make capital investments in Connecticut as well as fiber deployment in our underserved communities. As part of Frontier’s Plan of Reorganization, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) ordered Frontier to expand its fiber footprint and provide some additional protections for Frontier technicians and customer service representatives. But it failed to put stronger conditions on Frontier related to capital investment, broadband deployment, and worker retention.
Now, just over a year after Frontier emerged from bankruptcy, the company is leaving Connecticut behind.
Frontier increasingly uses out-of-state contractors and subcontractors to build critical infrastructure such as broadband, and has moved most of its executives south to Florida and Texas, leaving only a handful of employees remaining at Frontier’s original headquarters in Norwalk, CT.
Instead of providing more good-paying jobs with healthcare and retirement benefits that help Connecticut families and strengthen our economy, Frontier has hired hundreds of contractors, many of whom come from out of state. They're paid a fraction of what CWA union members earn, and the state has no oversight of them when it comes to public safety or quality of work.
Meanwhile, Frontier estimated that it paid its new executive chairman $48.5 million last year, which is more than any other CT executive of a publicly traded company - and this on the heels of a bankruptcy that wiped out billions of dollars owed to creditors.
In addition to taking work away from Connecticut workers and CWA’s union membership, Frontier is building its profits shadily, breaking its promises to the union and offering buy-outs to seasoned union workers, attempting to avoid overtime pay, and manipulating compensation plans for commission-based workers. Frontier is picking and choosing where to deploy high-speed broadband to the detriment of low-income residents.
To truly achieve our shared vision of “Internet for All,” legislators must act to hold Frontier accountable to deploying high-speed fiber-to-the-home to the communities that need it most, and using trained union labor from those already eager for work in our state.
Frontier’s reliance on contract labor is a public safety concern. In Connecticut, we know that the safety and quality of work in the building trades are overseen by transparency laws -- but broadband, being so newly recognized as “infrastructure,” is not currently subject to the same regulation.
Frontier has made it clear that they are happy to hire low-tier and undertrained contractors who can cause significant damage to communities and put the public in harm’s way amid botched rollouts.
With the influx of federal and state funding, Connecticut has a once-in-a-lifetime to build expansive broadband infrastructure, and build it right. We cannot risk a haphazard broadband buildout by unskilled contractors who lack the training or expertise needed, cut corners and risk safety and quality. While Frontier is doing all it can to squeeze out union workers and replace them with lower-cost, unskilled contractors, this misguided “money-saving” technique driven by Wall Street will only cost municipalities and taxpayers in the long-run.