Bell Atlantic Subsidiary Settles on Local Issues
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Striking members of the Communications Workers of America reached tentative agreement on local issues Thursday with Bell Atlantic’s Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., company and union officials said.
But none of the 41,000 employees who work for C&P and other Bell Atlantic subsidiaries will return to work until local issues are settled at all the companies, union officials said. The strike began Aug. 6.
Basic agreement on economic issues throughout the Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic system was reached a week ago.
Talks on local issues with Bell of Pennsylvania and Diamond State Telephone in Delaware are still snagged, the CWA said.
Elsewhere among the Bell operating companies, CWA representatives returned to the bargaining table with subsidiaries of Ameritech, serving 12.3 million customers in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. Those talks were aimed at a basic agreement on economic issues. The Illinois Bell sessions broke off abruptly with each side blaming the other for lack of progress.
CWA represents Bell Atlantic workers in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
C&P serves phone customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The union represents 21,000 C&P workers.
″We’re pleased to have settled issues of job security and work rules with C&P Telephone,″ said CWA Vice President Peter Catucci. ″But we’re dismayed by the retrogressive demands still on the table″ at Bell and Diamond State.
New Jersey Bell settled its local issues with the CWA earlier in the week.
″We’re glad there’s a tentative settlement in the C&P walkout, and we look forward to getting everyone back to work,″ said Bell Atlantic spokesman Larry Plumb.
Bell of New Jersey must also reach agreement with 9,100 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Negotiators for C&P and the union met for about an hour early Thursday afternoon before the settlement was announced. They had recessed the talks early in the morning after progress had been reported ″on all fronts,″ according to the company.
The local C&P issues involved such things as work rules and the contracting of work traditionally done by union employees to outside firms. Details were not immediately known.