Qwest wants union contracts before DNC hits Denver

With the Democrats coming to Denver in August and the GOP heading to Minneapolis in September - both Qwest-served cities - the Denver-based telco is more than usually motivated to ensure labor peace as contracts for much of its workforce, including 21,000 CWA employees, get set to expire Aug. 16.

Qwest and the Communications Workers of America already are talking and both say the goal is to wrap up a deal before the conventions. Of course, if you ask, you'd find out that Qwest has a strike strategy in place, just in case.

Qwest has a lot at stake at both conventions, having committed $6 million in cash and in-kind services to each event for telephone, Internet and data services.

The crux of the negotiations this time around are wages, health care benefits and some scheduling concerns. The CWA and Qwest have had smooth sailing contractually since 2001, when Qwest bought former baby Bell US West.

For more:
- See the AP story