COLCHESTER (AP) - Unions representing FairPoint Communications workers in northern New England say the sides remain far apart in contract negotiations.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents about 1,800 FairPoint employees in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Mike Spillane, a Vermont member of the negotiating team, told Vermont Public Radio that he has little hope of progress when talks resume on Tuesday. Members have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if necessary.

Health and retirement benefits are among the issues yet to be resolved. The company says current benefits are out of synch with industry norms and that it remains focused on reaching a successful agreement.


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