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August 27, 1993|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Caltrans Talks Collapse: Weeklong talks to resolve an impasse over Caltrans' use of outside contractors have broken down, and the union for the state's highway design employees charged Thursday that the agency continues to violate state law, as well as a 2-year-old agreement. Consultants want more highway design work available for outside contracts, while the union for most of the 8,000-member design staff wants the agency to add employees to meet greater work needs, said Bruce Blanning, executive assistant for the union, Professional Engineers in California Government. Past court orders have limited Caltrans' ability to send work to consultants. A Sacramento County judge is expected to decide today whether the union can intervene in a legal action brought by outside consultants against Caltrans to win back contracts that the agency has canceled.

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