Qwest faces deadline on union pact
By Steve Raabs
Friday, August 15, 2008
Negotiations between Qwest and its chief union are picking up
speed as their labor contract nears expiration.
Officials of the Communications Workers of America District 7
and Qwest said Thursday they hope to reach an agreement before
12:01 a.m. Sunday, when the current deal expires.
About 18,900 Qwest workers are CWA members.
"The pace of negotiations has increased, which we certainly
appreciate," said Al Kogler, a CWA spokesman. "We're still
hopeful we can get this done by Sunday."
Kogler described health-care costs for Qwest and its employees
as "the elephant in the room" on which most of the negotiations
are focused. Talks also include wages and job-security
"Our feeling is that progress is being made," said Qwest
spokesman Bob Toevs. "We're hopeful we'll reach an
Talks have accelerated from a once-a-day schedule to two
sessions Thursday and the likelihood of lengthy negotiations
today and Saturday.
If a deal isn't reached by late Saturday, options include
extending the current contract terms, working without a
contract, an employee lockout by Qwest or a strike by the CWA.
Officials from both sides said Thursday they want to avoid work
Raabe: 303-954-1948 or