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Qwest, union keep talking as contract expires
The Associated Press
Denver Post
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Article Last Updated: 08/17/2008 01:58:21 AM MDT

Members of the Communications Workers of America listen to union...

DENVER—Qwest Communications International Inc. and members of its largest union kept negotiating Sunday as a labor contract expired.  Workers represented by the Communications Workers of America had voted to authorize a strike if needed, but CWA organizing coordinator Al Kogler said no strike had been called when the contract expired after 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

"As long as we're at the table, we're going to keep pursuing that," Kogler said Sunday.

The union represents about 20,000 Qwest workers in 13 states.  Employees in Montana are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which also was in talks with Denver-based Qwest.

The talks come a little more than a week before the start of the Democratic National Convention, where Qwest is providing phone and Internet services.  Qwest also is providing service to the Republican National Convention that begins Sept. 1.

Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs said Saturday night that company officials were hopeful the sides would reach a tentative agreement this weekend.  CWA Local 7777 Executive Vice President Lisa Bolton said the sides were discussing employee and retiree health care, the wage package and job security.