Western Union strikers ordered back to work as negotiators agree on contract favorable to company

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About 6,500 Western Union technicians, operators, and clerks were ordered back to work Wednesday after a tentative agreement was reached on a concessions contract to end a 10-day-old strike, officials said. The two-year agreement is subject to ratification by members of the United Telegraph Workers Union, and union officials will recommend it be accepted, said Richard Brockert, international president.

In a contract designed to restore profitability to Western Union, union negotiators made concessions on most outstanding issues, Mr. Brockert said. ``It wasn't happy negotiating. We knew Western Union had financial troubles.''

Under the proposed contract, employees will pay more for health benefits, part-time employees will be added in some offices, and future workers won't be able to accumulate more than 20 weeks' worth of severance pay, Brockert said.

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The union negotiators also accepted a 3 percent raise effective July 28, 1986.

Western Union agreed not to contract out union work to non-union members, which had been a sore point in negotiations.

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