Union rejects tentative CenturyLink
The Denver Post
Posted: September 30, 2013 12:01:00 AM MDT
Members of CenturyLink's largest union have
rejected the tentative multiyear contract the respective bargaining
teams reached in July.
The Communications Workers of America District 7, which represents
legacy Qwest employees, voted 54 percent to 46 percent to turn down
the deal, according to an update that union leadership provided to
The pact would have covered 11,000 workers in 13 states, including
about 2,000 in Colorado, District 7 said. CenturyLink acquired
Denver-based Qwest in 2011.
The current contract, which had been extended on a temporary basis
since expiring in October, is in effect until Thursday.
If the pact isn't extended again, the union could implement a strike
or the company could authorize a lockout.
CWA District 7 spokesman Al Kogler said Sunday night: "No work
stoppage is imminent. We'll have a statement in the morning."
CenturyLink spokesman Mark Molzen said: "While we understand the
proposed agreement is a change from the contract in place today, we
believe it is fair and equitable given the significant changes in
our competitive and operating environment since the current
agreement was adopted."
Votes had been due Friday.
In a letter to members dated Sept. 5, union leaders outlined two
possible scenarios besides a strike or lockout if the tentative deal
First, the parties could return to the bargaining table. Second, the
company could terminate the contract that had been extended and
implement the tentative agreement or portions of it.
"If we went on strike, it would be classified as an economic strike,
meaning we could be permanently replaced," states the letter, signed
by CWA District 7 Vice President Mary Taylor and bargaining
committee chair Reed Roberts.
The last time CWA-represented employees for the company went on
strike was in 1998. The 15-day work stoppage cost CenturyLink
predecessor US West, which merged with Qwest in 2000, an estimated