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Associated Press, Published October 01 2012

CenturyLink workers in ND, Minn., 11 other states authorize strike

DENVER — CenturyLink workers in 13 states in the West and Midwest are authorizing a strike, if union leaders and the telecommunications company can't reach a contract agreement.

The Communications Workers of America said Monday that more than 88 percent of those voting backed the action.

The union and Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink are trying to reach a new contract for 13,000 employees before the current contract expires Saturday night. The employees include customer service agents, network technicians and Internet support workers.

The union approved a strike during contract talks in 2008 but a work stoppage wasn't ordered.

The workers at issue are in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Oregon and Wyoming.

CWA spokesman Al Kogler said the union opposes a proposed increase in health care premiums and wants to bring more jobs back to the U.S.

CenturyLink workers in Montana are negotiating a separate contract.


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