Letters to the Editor

FairPoint and the future of New England

To the Editor:
    We were disappointed to see FairPoint executives spend the company’s money on pricey full-page ads in newspapers all across New England on Sunday (“The Future of FairPoint,” Nov. 2).
    In the company’s contract talks with us — the union workers of FairPoint — executives have said they don’t have the money to maintain good, middle-class jobs. They claim that they must pay some new workers as little as minimum wage. And yet the company seems to have plenty of money for misleading ads.

    In those ads, the company suggests that their fight with us is all about “The Future for FairPoint.” But what’s really at stake here is the future for workers and families all across northern New England.
    The draconian contract FairPoint is trying to force on us would undermine job standards for every worker in the region. If FairPoint can turn good telecom jobs into minimum-wage jobs, then all workers are in serious trouble.
    We understand that this is a challenging time for both companies and employees. That’s why since April we worked hard in bargaining to help the company be “more nimble and efficient.” In fact, we offered more than $200 million in cost savings to the company in our contract proposals. But instead of working with us to find common ground, the company walked away from the table in August without making a single substantive compromise and keeps insisting on its original proposal of more than $700 million in savage cuts.
    FairPoint, a North Carolina-based company largely owned by Wall Street hedge funds, has tried to demonize its New England workers by pointing out the good wages that many of us make. But those good wages have been earned after years of service.
    The starting salary for a typical telephone technician in northern New England is roughly $540 a week. As our workers gain experience and become even more skilled, they’re rewarded for those skills with better pay. We think that’s a good thing. After all, FairPoint’s network cannot be maintained by low-paid and poorly skilled employees, as we’ve seen with all the service disruptions that have occurred during our brief strike.
    It is deeply painful for us to see customers struggling with the poor service provided by FairPoint’s replacement workers. And these problems are just a preview of what customers will face if FairPoint succeeds in its plans to outsource work to cut-rate contractors.
    We may not have the deep pockets of the Wall Street hedge fund managers that own FairPoint, but we have a deep commitment to the people of northern New England. And that’s why we’ll continue fighting until we win a contract that ensures good jobs and quality service for all our customers. 

Peter McLaughlin
business manager,
IBEW Local 2327, Maine
Chair of IBEW System Council T-9,
Maine, N.H., Vermont
Don Trementozzi, president
of CWA Local 1400, Maine, N.H., Vermont


A letter to the Moosehead Lake community

To the Editor:
    On behalf of the Brand Development Committee for the Moosehead Lake Region, I would like to thank you all for your continued excitement and participation in our initial efforts to “Brand Moosehead Lake!”
    As individual community members of the area, each of us represents a different aspect and interest that makes this Brand Development Committee a strong and unique team dedicated to the future growth and prosperity of the Moosehead Lake Region!
    Along with our fellow community members, guests, visitors and friends, we have circulated a survey that was compiled by Roger Brooks International to help guide the Brand Development Committee in the very near future. Your input, provided by this survey, will help us narrow our focus on what the area does well, what we may be missing, and what we can improve our efforts on to become the “World Class” destination that we all know is in reach.
    You will be pleased to know that the amount of surveys received has nearly quadrupled that which we had initially anticipated receiving, and we want more! Our survey closes on Nov. 7, so if you have not yet submitted one, we would very much appreciate five minutes of your time.
    The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/branding-moosehead. Your answers and opinions are crucial to the outcome and general focus of the brand for the Moosehead Lake Region.
    It is also the last opportunity to offer us your perspective concerning where you would like our efforts to be concentrated.
    In addition to the survey, Roger Brooks’ community assessment presentation is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4JKtspjFw0.
    By understanding Roger’s initial impressions of and recommendations for the Moosehead Lake Region, we know you will feel confident that with Roger Brooks International, the Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Committee and, most of all, you, the Brand Development Committee will be on target to create a strong future within our region for generations!

Mark Gilbert II
Brand Development Committee member


Good news for Sangerville

To the Editor:
    It is about time we had some good news for our nice little town of Sangerville, Maine. Our Code of Ethics Ordinance did get put on the warrant as an article to vote on as written at the 2015 Annual Town Meeting and it was labeled legal by the Maine Municipal Association.
    And the grammar is correct and there is no need or reason for an alternative ordinance, so they can not change it to fit their needs. Keep in mind our ordinance is only asking the town officials to obey the same state laws and statutes and the town policies and ordinances that we the citizens do, Remember this Code of Ethics Ordinance is by the people for the people, not by the Board for the Board.
    Please come to our 2015 Annual Town Meeting and vote in the spring (March). Your vote does count,

Richard R Dobson Sr.


Ebola deserves respect, not paranoia

To the Editor:
    I’ve heard enough condemnation of Kaci Hickox and as a health professional that used to work in infection control I must speak up to defend her. I also have a lot of respect for the Maine health professionals/leaders who have signed a letter stating their support of her. Ebola is not spread through casual contact and it is also not spread by anyone who is not sick. Don’t get me wrong — I am very supportive of providing full and complete protection for any brave health care worker who is caring for a patient sick with Ebola and I realize there are very real risks in being on those front lines.
    But Kaci is not sick and she is abiding by CDC recommendations for monitoring her condition and will quarantine if she becomes ill. She is brave and a heroine and as a fellow nurse I am very proud of her. She has risked her life to go to the source of the outbreak to stem the spread of it and when she returned to U.S she was treated like a criminal, whisked off to a tent with no running water in New Jersey and now Maine politicians vying to win elections are trying to impose further unsubstantiated restrictions on her.
    As Dr. Robert Pinksy pointed out in a BDN article, there are 50,000 people who die each year from influenza and 200,000 are hospitalized. Should we quarantine anyone who has come in contact with a person who is sick with the flu? I guess I’d be spending flu season locked up since I work in a primary care office where coughing and infectious people stop by to see us every day. Should people be forced to have flu shots? Even with the risk of death from influenza, sometimes when I ask people if they’d like their flu shots they say, ‘No, I heard you get really sick from that vaccine but what do you think about this ebola thing?”
    I explain the science and they are free to decline the flu shot. Influenza is a familiar risk after all. Sort of like getting into our cars each day to drive somewhere and then hearing about who died in an accident at the end of the day. We are immune to it now.
    Remember AIDS? People were so paranoid and discriminatory we had to pass laws to protect people with AIDS. Then it handcuffed health care workers from identifying and helping people infected. I pray we don’t make the same mistake with ebola.

Molly Stevens RN

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