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Lockout ends at Western Union.

Lockout ends at Western Union Ending a 5-day lockout, negotiators for the Western Union Corp. and the Communications Workers reached agreement on three 2-year contracts covering about 2,500 operators, customer relations clerks, clerical workers, and field technicians. The major issues in dispute were wages, job security, health care cost sharing, subcontracting, use of part-time workers, and consolidation of job classifications. (The ailing financial and telecommunications company has had financial problems over the last 6 years and is in the process of restructuring its debts.)

After the union refused to extend the old contract 90 days, the company locked out some 2,000 employees represented by the Communications Workers, and "temporarily" replaced them with trainees and management employees. The union filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Western Union "selectively" locked out union-represented employees in particular facilities and job functions. (The company sent notices to the 2,000 workers telling them not to report to work.)

Meanwhile, bargaining sessions continued between company and labor negotiators until agreements were reached. Terms of the contracts provided for a 3.5-percent wage increase for full-time workers in each of the 2 years; unspecified wage increases for part-timers; contract language giving Western Union more flexibility in using part-time workers and subcontractors; reinstatement of locked out employees, and giving them 4 days of back pay; preservation of the profit-sharing plan; and maintenance of the current pension benefit levels. (Western Union currently has 3,400 employees and 11,200 retirees.)

"Developments in Industrial Relations" is prepared by Michael H. Cimini of the Division of Developments in Labor-Management Relations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is largely based on information from secondary sources.
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Title Annotation:Developments in industrial relations
Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Words:281
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