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CWA TO STRIKE US WEST IF NO ACCORD IS REACHED

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Communication Workers of America members have authorized a strike against US WEST Communications Inc. if the two sides are unable to agree on a contract by Aug. 12.

Union officials said Monday that slightly more than 95 percent of the 38,000 CWA workers voted to authorize the strike during balloting at locals throughout the US WEST 14-state region that includes Idaho. The votes were tabulated Friday. The union did not release a specific count.The strike vote included US WEST Business Resources Inc., which also is in contract negotiations with CWA.

US WEST spokesman Dave Banks said the vote was not a surprise.

The two sides began negotiations on the new contract June 12, working two to three weeks before taking a multi-week recess. They have returned to talks on a daily basis, officials said. The current pact expires Aug. 12.

CWA Vice President Sue Pisha said negotiations have been progressing slowly.