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INNOVATIVE 'NO STRIKE-NO LOCKOUT' AGREEMENT SIGNED AS COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA AND SOUTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE BEGIN CONTRACT TALKS

INNOVATIVE 'NO STRIKE-NO LOCKOUT' AGREEMENT SIGNED AS COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA AND SOUTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE BEGIN CONTRACT TALKS
 ST. LOUIS, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- As they enter 1992 contract talks, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 6 and Southwestern Bell Telephone Company have signed a landmark agreement not to sanction a strike or lockout during the course of the negotiations. The agreement was signed yesterday.
 "The CWA is proud to be out front with this bold, new approach to labor negotiations. It's a very progressive agreement that could become a national model for collective bargaining," said Vic Crawley, vice president, CWA, District 6.
 "Any major innovation like this involves some risks. But the upside of the agreement is very positive. It set a productive tone for negotiations where the two sides will be more like partners than adversaries. Instead of thinking about what we could do TO one another, we'll be thinking of what we can do WITH one another," he said.
 "This approach also reduces the stress and uncertainty that employees feel before a potential strike. And it avoids the possibility of financial loss," he said.
 "Customers are big winners, too," said Gary Lucas, Southwestern Bell Telephone's assistant vice president for labor relations and human resources. "No employee likes the thought of any action that might harm customer service. The agreement lets the public know they'll continue getting the kind of service they expect. That's especially important in view of the competition we face in many of our markets," he said.
 "Our agreement is an innovation that has few if any precedents in the United States. It puts the focus of negotiations on problem solving rather than conflict," he said.
 "Many observers have been calling for an 'adaptive' rather than adversarial approach to labor relations, especially in the wake of recent well-publicized labor-management confrontations," said Lucas.
 "The agreement recognizes that Southwestern Bell is operating in a changing environment that requires a partnership approach to critical issues like meeting competition in the telecommunications industry," he said.
 Although the agreement can be rescinded with a 30-day notification from either side, both Crawley and Lucas are "confident" the parties will negotiate a timely and mutually beneficial contract.
 An early round of bargaining was held between the CWA and Southwestern Bell Telephone the week of May 18, 1992, in St. Louis. Negotiations resumed June 23. The current three-year contract, which was signed in August 1989, will expire Aug. 8, 1992, at 11:59 p.m.
 The Communications Workers of America, District 6, represents over 39,000 Southwestern Bell Telephone employees in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas.
 Southwestern Bell Telephone is the largest subsidiary of St. Louis- based Southwestern Bell Corporation. It provides telecommunications services to more than 9.6 million customers in its five-state territory.
 -0- 6/24/92
 /CONTACT: Joe Elstner of Southwestern Bell Telephone, 314-247-2888/
 (SBC) CO: Southwestern Bell Telephone Company; Communications Workers
 of America ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU:


PS -- NY034 -- 3276 06/24/92 11:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 24, 1992
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