Recent Qwest, union agreement will not affect local workers

A recent agreement between Qwest Communications and one of its employee unions won't affect roughly a dozen of the company's workers from the Craig area, a local union president said.

Communications Workers of America Local 7707 President Don Sheridan said a deal that will pay new hires at a different rate than existing employees probably will affect Qwest customer service employees in Colorado's more metropolitan areas.

"There are probably only two people's jobs that will be affected in the (local's) 40,000-square-mile jurisdiction from the Utah border to Kansas," he said. The local has about 350 union members in that area.

The deal comes as the first round of bargaining, during which Qwest officials said they wanted to contract out vacant or new customer service jobs to slash costs, according to the Associated Press.

The deal sets a base of $10 an hour for newly hired employees, with raises based on performance. Previously, customer service workers received raises according to seniority, according to a Qwest report.

CWA Local 7707 reported fewer than a dozen local unionized Qwest workers in jobs, such as outside cable technicians. Workers are connected to a central office, but Qwest does not have a storefront in Craig, Sheridan said.

Union members are covered under the current contract until August, Sheridan said.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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