Union Victory Centers On Merit Pay

In a blow to advocates of pay-for-performance plans, the Communications Workers of America(CWA) achieved a goal of making compensation tied to performance voluntary for the 34,000 unionized employees of U.S. West, the sixth-largest telecommunications company in the U.S.

The workers ended a 15-day strike Monday.

A company merit-pay plan affecting as much as 20% of pay for repair technicians and customer-sales representatives was made voluntary. The union also won limits on mandatory overtime of 16 hours per week by next January, and no more than eight hours per week by 2001. And by next August all workers will be guaranteed at least one five-day week per month and two by August 2000. (U.S. West employees worked 6.5 million hours of overtime in 1997 -- which the CWA says is the equivalent of 3,200 full-time jobs.)

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