The Association of U S West Retirees



Union hopeful on contract
By Steve Raabe
Denver Post
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Officials of Qwest's largest union say a newly negotiated contract proposal might fare better with members who voted down an earlier deal.

The proposal for Communications Workers of America District 7 replaces the previous three-year contract offer with a four-year term and codifies language on measuring worker performance.

About 20,000 Qwest employees are represented by CWA.  In late September, they voted to reject a deal that had been negotiated by CWA and Qwest officials.

Aside from an extra year and adding performance language, the new contract proposal mainly has the same terms as the previous offer:

Annual wage increases of about 3 percent, totaling 12.55 percent over four years.

A first-year increase in family health-insurance premiums from $33 a month to $75 with additional increases in years two and three.

A 3 percent increase in pension payments for workers retiring after Oct. 12.

The new performance language stipulates that before workers can be disciplined or discharged for not meeting work quotas, Qwest must "abide by a set of principles that (actions) have been applied properly and that give people a chance to get their act together," said CWA spokesman Al Kogler.

Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs said the contract language "is reaffirming our commitment to coaching and development for workers on productivity measures."

Kogler said union leaders have expressed "optimism" that the performance measures and four-year term will persuade workers to approve the deal.

Steve Raabe: 303-954-1948 or