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STATUS UPDATE ON UNION CONTRACT TALKS AT BELL ATLANTIC

 STATUS UPDATE ON UNION CONTRACT TALKS AT BELL ATLANTIC
 WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Communications Workers of America's chief negotiator at Bell Atlantic emphasized that union bargainers stand ready to talk at any time and he strongly denied the company's assertion as reported in the news media that the union had "broken off talks" yesterday.
 "The top negotiators for both CWA and IBEW are on hand and available to talk at a moment's notice and our full committees are on call and ready to return for formal negotiations whenever there is a prospect of making real progress at the table," said CWA Vice President Vincent Maisano.
 "But the ball is in the company's court, and from our perspective, it's really Bell Atlantic that has shut down the bargaining process," he said.
 Bargaining hit a snag yesterday, Maisano said, when company negotiators reintroduced a proposal that they had previously withdrawn from the bargaining table.
 "We're actually losing ground and getting farther from a settlement if the company is going to start resubmitting issues that had been disposed of in earlier talks," he noted.
 Maisano said that local leaders and members "are disappointed and angry at the snail's pace of bargaining since Aug. 11th" when the company put its last offer on the table.
 Among the issues prolonging the talks, he said, were retrogressive demands in the area of health benefits for retirees that were laid on the table just prior to contract expiration on Aug. 8. "They gave us an unacceptable last-minute demand, and now they're resubmitting others," Maisano noted, adding, "We don't view this as good faith bargaining."
 Among unresolved issues are wages, compensation, employment security and others, CWA and IBEW negotiators reported.
 The collective bargaining agreement had been extended since Aug. 8 by mutual agreement, but the last extension expired at midnight last night. The 51,000 CWA and IBEW members have remained on the job.
 -0- 8/18/92
 /CONTACT: Jeff Miller of the Communications Workers of America, 202-434-1172/
 (BEL) CO: Communications Workers of America; Bell Atlantic ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU:


DC -- DC009 -- 1003 08/18/92 13:45 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 18, 1992
Words:354
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