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Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Cracks Down on Lumen's CenturyLink

Last week, in a 5-0 ruling, members of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) found that Lumen’s CenturyLink violated Minnesota service quality rules and must quickly rehabilitate its network statewide. "We have enough evidence in the record showing a violation,” said MPUC Chair Katie Sieben. Pointing to multiple photos of CenturyLink equipment in disrepair, Sieben added, “The company should have to repair equipment that looks like it's a disaster.” Additionally, the MPUC required the carrier to halve its repair appointment windows from 8 hours to 4 hours and implement a preventative “plant pride” program proposed by CWA.

“Plant Pride” is a program piloted at CWA-represented Verizon locations in 2018. The program was assessed as a success in 2022, resulting in a reduction in maintenance costs, outages, trouble tickets, and an increase in customer satisfaction, as reported by both CWA units and Verizon management. Key elements of the program include mechanisms for technicians to report maintenance and repair issues, a coordinated oversight mechanism between the union and the company, and an internal communications strategy to inform plant workers of the program.

CWA Local 7201 President Christy Kuehn, who testified about the company’s failure to meet its service requirements, said of the ruling, “I’m pleased with the Commission’s decision. I look forward to a strong Plant Pride program in Minnesota that will improve service to Lumen customers across the state.” She added, “We hope that Lumen will hire a sufficient number of technicians to finally meet the service quality standards.”


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