Oct. 16, 2002 – As the strike by 310 employees of Innovative Telephone and Innovative Cable-TV entered its third week, representatives of labor and management sat down with a federal mediator on Wednesday in an effort to reach resolution of the contract issues that divide them.
In keeping with one thing both sides had agreed on earlier, nobody was talking to the news media on Wednesday evening about what transpired on the first day of negotiations.
"Both sides have … accepted that as a ground rule," Innovative Telephone spokesman Thomas Dunn said. United Steelworkers Union representative Randolph Allen said the same thing, adding that the mediation talks would resume on Thursday.
Since the strike began on Oct. 2, phone lines throughout the territory have been vandalized, affecting service to more than 5,000 customers, according to Innovative. The phone company posted a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. No arrests have been made in connection with the action, which the company has described as sabotage.
The most recent such action occurred Tuesday, when about 100 telephone customers in the vicinity of Roy L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas lost service.
The work stoppage centers primarily around union dissatisfaction with ICC's benefit and retirement package offer.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Croix Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.