Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Ameritech Reaches Contract; Bell Atlantic Resumes Talks

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Ameritech Reaches Contract; Bell Atlantic Resumes Talks

Article excerpt

CHICAGO (AP) _ A telephone workers union reached agreement on a contract Monday with a regional telephone company and its subsidiaries, averting a strike in five Midwest states.

The agreement between the Communications Workers of America and Ameritech Corp. includes wage increases of 11.5 percent over three years. It was expected to be ratified by the union's 35,000 workers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, said Bob Johnson, a union district vice president.

But a walkout threat still loomed in six East Coast states and the District of Columbia, where talks with Bell Atlantic were recessed until Tuesday.

Negotiators for the union and a third of the solled Baby Bell companies, Pacific Telesis, continued talks in California. And two other Baby Bells involved in talks _ Southwestern Bell and BellSouth _ reached tentative agreements early Sunday.

The union's old contracts covering operators, cable installers, switching equipment operators and Yellow Pages advertising salesmen for the five regional companies expired Saturday at midnight.

Settlement with Ameritech and its Bell subsidiaries came after three days of bargaining sessions. Also covered are about 1,300 employees of Ameritech Services, a subsidiary that provides support staff to the five telephone companies.

"The new contracts are a successful outcome for both sides, and clearly demonstrate Ameritech's respect for its employees," said Paul Downing, Ameritech's vice president of labor relations.

The agreements include improved health care and pension benefits, Johnson said.

Unlike the other Baby Bells involved in contract talks, Ameritech negotiated separate agreements with each individual state telephone company.

In Washington, D.C., two bargaining sessions Sunday failed to resolve the CWA's differences with Bell Atlantic, which serves customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington. …

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