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Phone Strike at Midweek With Little Progress Reported

August 10, 1989

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Union and Bell Atlantic representatives expressed little optimism Wednesday for an early end to a walkout that has slowed some telephone services in six states and the District of Columbia since Sunday.

Strikes also continued against NYNEX Corp., which operates in New York and New England, and Pacific Telesis, in California and Nevada.

In all, about 157,000 union workers in 15 states and the District of Columbia were on strike, forcing management to work long hours in such jobs as answering directory assistance queries and making limited repair calls.

In a statement Wednesday, the AFL-CIO urged the public, union members and their families not to pay their phone bills until the strikes at Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and Pacific Telesis are settled.

The resolution was passed Tuesday by the AFL-CIO Executive Council, according to a statement.

Bell Atlantic and the Communications Workers of America were not scheduled to meet Wednesday, but had a negotiating session set for Thursday, a company spokesman said.

No progress was made in their first face-to-face, post-strike meeting Tuesday, both sides agreed.

Bill Bickers, spokesman for the Communications Workers of America, said, ″It appears that the company has a time lag, and this may very well stall things. It’s certainly not helping the process.″

Another CWA spokesman, Don Gathers in Richmond, Va., added, ″Nothing has changed, really, since Sunday.″

″There is some slowness in getting directory assistance and in operator assistance for toll calls in our area of service,″ said Bell of Pennsylvania spokesman Thomas Duddy.

″But everything else which is automated is working fine,″ he said.

In Boston, police on Wednesday arrested at least 35 striking telephone workers blocking entrances to headquarters of New England Telephone, a NYNEX subsidiary, and a contractor’s garage. They were arraigned on disorderly conduct charges and released on their own recognizance.

Officials of New Jersey Bell Telephone Co. reported that lines were cut in five communities serving about 2,000 customers.

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