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FairPoint ends health coverage for striking workers

FairPoint Communications has stopped providing health coverage for its striking workers, a company spokeswoman confirmed Saturday. Strikers can continue their health coverage under a federal law that goes by the acronym Cobra, said spokeswoman Angelynne Beaudry, but they must pay for it themselves. About 2,000 unionized workers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine went on strike Oct. 16 after months of stalled contract talks. The company is seeking about $700 million in contract concessions, while union negotiators want to limit the reductions to about $200 million. The company now pays 100 percent of monthly health premiums and wants to shift about 20 percent of that cost onto workers. (AP)