Qwest, unions reach agreement, avert strike
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Monday, August 18, 2008
Qwest and its two unions have reached tentative agreements on
new, three-year contracts, averting a potential strike one week
before the National Democratic Convention in
The agreements were announced shortly after 1 a.m. this morning.
Neither Qwest nor the unions immediately disclosed contract
The tentative agreement between Qwest and its largest union, the
Communications Workers of America, came after marathon
bargaining sessions Saturday and Sunday. The CWA
represents nearly 20,000 union workers.
Negotiations had stalled over health care and wages shortly
after the current contract expired on 12:01 a.m. Sunday, but the
two sides resumed bargaining late Sunday afternoon with talks
stretching into the night.
CWA spokesman Al Kogler said he doesn’t expect the union to
disclose details of the agreement until later today. But
he indicated the union leadership believes that the new deal
meets the objectives of getting a fair wage increase, job
security and good health care provisions.
Qwest also reached a tentative agreement with the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents about 200
union workers in Montana.
The tentative agreements still must be ratified by union
"I appreciate the collaborative effort the bargaining teams made
in confronting key issues facing employees and Qwest, especially
health care," said Teresa Taylor, executive vice president and
chief administrative officer of Qwest. "I'm confident
Qwest will be a stronger company because of (the) result."
Qwest is the official phone and Internet provider to the DNC and
the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and
is donating up to $6 million each in services to each
It was deemed critical the
telco avert a work stoppage during the conventions. But
Qwest, which recently lowered its financial forecast, also was
under pressure to get a good deal at the bargaining table.
The CWA agreed not to call a strike Sunday, even after the
current contract expired. There was informational
picketing in some areas, with workers calling for a fair
smithje@RockyMountainNews or 303-954-5155