South Slope workers reject revised contract, no talks set

Union officials confident no strike against North Liberty business necessary

Employees of South Slope Cooperative Communications represented by the Communications Workers of America have unanimously rejected a revised contract proposal.

The North Liberty-based cooperative and the union returned to the bargaining table Nov. 8 after the workers rejected the initial contract offer on Nov. 3. With the assistance of a federal mediator, minor modifications were made to the contract and it was presented to the union membership for another vote.

Kay Pence, a CWA representative, said major concerns include the removal of dues deductions from the contract, the 11-month duration of the contract, two-tier wages and other changes to scheduling and call out procedures.

Justyn Miller, CEO of South Slope Cooperative Communications, said he was aware of the union's rejection of the latest contract offer, but had not received any additional information or a request to continue negotiations.

"As we have in the past, South Slope will continue to negotiate in good faith until impasse," Miller said.

Pence said the CWA believes it is still possible to reach an equitable agreement without a strike.

The 55 employees represented by the union work in  South Slope's outside plant, clerical and IT departments.

The union has filed charges against South Slope with the National Labor Relations Board for bad faith bargaining and the unwarranted suspension of a union supporter. The suspended employee has not been allowed to return to work.

South Slope Communications, which provides telephone, Internet and cable television, serves Amana, Ely, Fairfax, Newhall, North Liberty, Norway, Oxford, Solon, Shueyville, Tiffin, Watkins, Walford, west and south Cedar Rapids, and parts of Coralville.

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