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US West Averts Strike With New Contract

August 20, 1995| From Associated Press

DENVER — US West Communications Inc. averted a strike Saturday by agreeing to give 33,000 workers a 10.6% wage hike, increase pension and health benefits and preserve hundreds of new jobs for union members.

The regional telephone company, which serves 25 million customers in 14 states, had 15,000 managers on standby as the strike deadline approached. The previous contract had expired Aug. 12.

"We're pleased we could reach a positive agreement without disruption in service to our customers," said Sol Trujillo, US West's chief executive officer.

US West agreed to raise wages by 10.6% over three years, increase pension benefits by 12%, improve medical and dental benefits, and guarantee that retirees will pay no medical premiums until at least the year 2002, the union said.

A major sticking point--contracting work to non-union companies--was resolved when US West agreed to preserve 500 new jobs for union members, US West spokesman Dave Banks said.

As "a way of sweetening the process," each union member will get a $1,500 bonus if the contract is ratified, Banks said. A vote is scheduled for Sept. 29.

In exchange, union negotiators accepted work rule changes for telephone operators, sales staff and line technicians, Banks said.

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