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

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.''

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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.

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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