More than 190,000 telephone employees were on strike nationwide Monday after workers in five Midwestern states joined the walkout. But two regional telephone companies reached settlements to keep 83,000 workers on the job. About 35,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) went on strike Sunday against Chicago-based Ameritech, which serves 12.3 million customers in the Midwest.
They joined more than 156,000 operators, installers and other employees at three other ``Baby Bells'' - NYNEX, Bell Atlantic, and Pacific Telesis - who entered the second week of their walkout Monday.
There were few signs of progress in resolving any of the disputes, which center on wages and company plans to cut back health benefits.
Nevertheless, the CWA reached agreement Sunday with U S West, which serves 14 western states, and with Southwestern Bell Corporation, which has 11 million customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas.
In both cases, the union accepted lower wage increases in exchange for company agreements to maintain health benefits more or less intact.