Qwest, union begin negotiations in July
Workplace issues and health-care benefits are expected to
dominate the contract talks.
By Kimberly S. Johnson
Friday, June 6, 2008
Health care and the number of benchmarks employees must reach
will be among the top issues next month when Qwest and its union
begin contract negotiations.
Bargaining for the telecommunications company's unionized
workers, represented by the Communications Workers of America
District 7, is set to open July 8. Roughly 55 percent of
Qwest's employees — about 20,075 — are represented by the union.
Negotiations will take place for network technicians,
customer-service representatives and central office workers
across Qwest's 14-state region.
While company officials wouldn't offer details about the
upcoming negotiations, District 7 vice president Annie Hill said
health-care benefits for active workers and retirees will be up
for discussion, along with Qwest's contracting union work out to
Workplace issues, such as various quotas, also will be brought
up, Hill said.
"There are too many measures people have to reach at the same
time," she said. "It's OK to provide measures, but you
have to be reasonable in how you reach them.
Sometimes, we believe the measures are unrealistic."
Qwest and the CWA in 2005 settled on a three-year contract under
which employees received a wage increase totaling 7.5 percent
over the length of the contract. While employees did not
have to pay a monthly premium for individual health coverage,
there were changes in some out-of-pocket costs and an enrollment
fee for spouse and family coverage.
Employees who retired after 1990 maintained their health
benefits but gave up some life insurance. Pension benefits
Kimberly S. Johnson: 303-954-1088 or