After Communication Workers of America members voted down a tentative new contract agreement with Qwest Communications, the telco and CWA officials are due to meet again at the bargaining table this Thursday. Both sides have agreed on a deadline of midnight Friday to reach a new contract agreement. The CWA already has been authorized by its membership to call a strike, but it is unclear whether or not that will happen if the new deadline passes without agreement.
CWA rejected the tentative contract offer largely because it called for them to pay healthcare insurance premiums for the first time, costs that would have eaten into some of the 9.7 percent pay increase (over three years) included in the proposal.
Meanwhile, Qwest reportedly is cutting a number of non-union jobs across its 14-state region. The number of planned cuts was reported by the Omaha World-Herald to be between 400 and 600 jobs, though Qwest didn't confirm specifics about the plan or the numbers involved.
Qwest CWA members approved a strike back in August
Qwest and its unions reached a tentative agreement in late August
Qwest union members started voting on the new contract early last month
Qwest union votes tallied last week showed the contract was rejected