SOUTH BURLINGTON (AP) - Nearly 2,000 union employees of telecommunications firm FairPoint in northern New England are set to begin voting on whether to authorize a strike.

A meeting about the strike authorization vote is scheduled for Friday in South Burlington, Vermont. More meetings are set for Saturday in Bangor, Maine and Sunday in Portland, Maine and Manchester, New Hampshire.

The workers' contracts expire Aug. 2. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers System Council T-9 and Communications Workers of America Local 1400 began negotiating April 25.

The vote is required in advance of a work stoppage, but doesn't require the union members to strike. Union leadership could make that decision later.

The company says service to customers will continue if there is a strike. Company officials say their offers to the union have been fair.