Pact expired, CWA says Qwest talks are `stalled'

August 16, 2005|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

DENVER - Qwest Communications International Inc., the largest local-telephone service provider in the Northwest, and the Communications Workers of America, which represents 60 percent of its workers, remain at odds on central elements in a new contract more than a day after the old one expired.

Contract talks between the company and the CWA are "stalled," said Candice Johnson, a union spokeswoman. She said the two sides are "still very far apart on key issues."

Qwest negotiators averted a walkout after failing to reach an agreement before a 12:01 a.m. deadline Sunday, when the old contract ended. The two sides are haggling over wages, health care costs and mandatory overtime, Johnson said. She said a strike date could be set at any time.

No negotiations were scheduled yesterday. The union and Qwest held talks for 20 hours, breaking off Sunday morning and resuming Sunday night for a few hours without success.

"We're looking forward to a successful resolution of a new agreement," Qwest spokesman Robert Toevs said yesterday. He declined to discuss specifics of the talks, which began June 22.

The CWA represents Qwest employees in 13 states.

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