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FairPoint and its workers at impasse regarding contract negotiations

PORTLAND (WGME) -- Two unions representing 700 Maine FairPoint Communication workers say company officials are walking away from contract negotiations.

CBS 13 spoke to representatives from both sides and this has certainly been a tense month of talks during contract negotiations.

Thursday morning, the company sent out an email declaring an impasse in negotiations, that means a strike could be on the way and the company could lock out workers without any prior notice.

700 FairPoint workers in Maine and about 2,000 workers in New England have been working under an expired contact since the beginning of the month.

A FairPoint representative say they would prefer a negotiated agreement but feel talks aren't getting anywhere.

The proposed contract includes no wage changes, a freeze in the pension plan and elimination of the retiree medical coverage.

Union representatives say their big sticking point is opposing provisions that would allow the company to hire outside contractors without consulting the union, possibly taking work away from local people.

Union members had planned "informational pickets" across the state Thursday morning in Bangor, Ellsworth and Portland.

Union leaders say they plan to meet with their attorneys to figure out their next step.