Fifteen thousand GTE California employees voted to strike, if negotiations over health benefits and other issues are not met, Jeff Chester, a spokesman for the Communications Workers of America, announced. If a strike does take place, GTE's 6,000 management employees will fill the positions of striking workers, company spokesman Larry Cox said. The strike would have "virtually no affect on telephone services," he said. GTE serves about 2.7 million customers in the state, most of whom reside in seven Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Imperial. "We are not going to let the vote affect our negotiating position," Cox said. "The authorization of a strike does not mean they will." "We don't want to strike," Chester said. "And we don't want another Eastern Airlines situation here."