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Verizon - Frontier sale opponents lobby at West Virginia state house

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October 14, 2009

Union members and community supporters opposed to the sale of Verizon's landlines to Frontier Communications took part in a grassroots lobby day on October 14 at the Capitol in Charleston to talk with their state legislators about the impact of the sale on the future of West Virginia. About 75 members from Communications Workers of America (CWA) local unions who work for Verizon or Frontier participated.

The grassroots lobbyists started their day in a conference room provided by State Treasurer John Perdue where CWA District Two Vice President Ron Collins gave members a short briefing about the importance of gaining support from our elected representatives to oppose the sale. Members were also welcomed by Attorney General Darrell McGraw as well as officials from the state AFL-CIO.

Because it was the first time lobbying for many of the members CWA Rep. Elaine Harris shared a few tips on how to be an effective grassroots lobbyist.

At the Capitol, union members talked with their legislators about why the sale could hurt future economic development in West Virginia and requested that each legislator write to the Public Service Commission (PSC) opposing the sale.

After lunch, union members packed a meeting room where CWA VP Ron Collins briefed the Labor Caucus about how, if approved, the sale could jeopardize West Virginia's future economic development. Following the Labor Caucus meeting, everyone met with Senate Majority Leader H. Truman Chafin, who enthusiastically signed a pledge card.

The highlight of the day was a Joint Committee "hearing" where representatives of the PSC, the Consumer Advocate Division, Verizon, CWA and Frontier briefed legislators and answered questions about the deal.

Members of CWA did a great job of making it clear to their elected officials why the sale of Verizon to Frontier is a bad deal for the state of West Virginia.