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Frontier workers picket at Super Bowl, demand decent contract

By staff |
February 11, 2021
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Frontier workers picketing at Super Bowl.
Frontier workers picketing at Super Bowl. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Tampa FL - IBEW Local 824 Frontier workers and supporters gathered near Raymond James Stadium before Super Bowl LV to hold an informational picket raising public awareness about Frontier's ongoing attempt to gut workers' retirement benefits and healthcare and its attempts to double the amount that active workers have to pay for health insurance.

The decision to demonstrate outside the Super Bowl was strategic, not just because it was a major national event that happened locally, but because Frontier has corporate partnerships with the Buccaneers and Raymond James Stadium.

In an open letter to members, IBEW Local 824 President Keith LaPlant stated: "Our plan is to send a clear message to Frontier and their corporate partners like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Raymond James Stadium that taking retirement benefits from our essential workers is unacceptable."

Due to heavy traffic, demonstrators met at the union hall and were bused back and forth from the stadium. At peak, there were roughly 500 people holding signs with slogans like "Fair contract now!" and yelling chants, such as "Go Bucs! Frontier sucks!" A good portion of passing cars honked and cheered in support. Meanwhile, an airplane flew overhead pulling a banner that read, "Frontier fails essential workers."

Frontier workers have had to make great sacrifices to maintain the essential internet infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first months of the pandemic, workers had no choice but to continue to go into homes, businesses and even hospitals without any PPE.

Frontier Communications is currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, for which they've received billions of federal dollars for debt relief, while top executives collect over $60 million from bonuses. "If Frontier can make their executives whole with over $60 million in bonuses, they can make their dedicated employees whole," President LaPlant said.

IBEW Local 824 and Frontier have until April 16 to reach an agreement before the current contract expires, otherwise, the union may need to go on strike to win a decent contract that workers desperately need, especially during a pandemic and economic depression.