Bell Atlantic, CWA Reach Agreement in Washington.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Negotiators for Bell Atlantic and striking members of the Communications Workers of America here have reached a tentative settlement, but talks elsewhere produced varying results, officials say.
Negotiators for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. and the CWA local that represents its four subsidiaries announced the agreement after meeting twice on Thursday.
″We look forward to getting everyone back to work,″ said Bell Atlantic spokesman Larry Plumb.
But CWA spokesman Bill Bickers said none of the 41,000 C&P employees who have been on strike since Aug. 6 would return to work until local issues are settled at all Bell Atlantic subsidiaries.
C&P operates telephone companies in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. Local issues in dispute involved such things as work rules and the contracting of work traditionally done by union employees to outside firms.
Basic agreement on economic issues throughout the Bell Atlantic system was reached a week ago. The only outstanding local issues remaining among subsidiaries and the CWA involved Bell of Pennsylvania and Diamond State Telephone, Plumb said.
″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.″
Catucci charged that those companies were ″completely unresponsive″ to the needs of the workers and placed ″major obstacles″ in the path of a settlement. The company wants the union to give back some arbitration decisions, Bickers said.
Bell of Pennsylvania reached agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on Sunday.
In New Jersey, the IBEW rejected New Jersey Bell’s final offer late Thursday, Plumb said. The union, which represents 9,100 workers, presented a counter-offer that Plumb said ″leaves the two sides far apart.″
New Jersey Bell settled its local issues with the CWA earlier in the week.
In Ohio, contract talks resumed for the first time in the 12-day strike by 10,000 Ohio Bell employees Thursday, with both the CWA and the company indicating interest in making headway. Meetings were scheduled to continue this afternoon.
CWA and Illinois Bell on Thursday afternoon met for the first time since the strike began, but phone company negotiators walked out in early evening, saying the union was not willing to make key concessions on pay, said company negotiator Francine Soliunas.
CWA officials countered that Illinois Bell has refused to make concessions as part of the collective bargaining process. No further bargaining sessions were scheduled.