The Association of U S West Retirees



Qwest faces deadline on union pact
By Steve Raabs
Denver Post
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 provisions.

"Our feeling is that progress is being made," said Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs.  "We're hopeful we'll reach an agreement."

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 stoppages.

Steve Raabe: 303-954-1948 or