DENVER, November 15, 2001 ? The Communications Workers of America (CWA), the world?s largest telecommunications union, representing 37,000 Qwest employees, today threw its support behind the efforts of Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) to re-enter the long-distance business in its 14 Western states. CWA pledged its support because Qwest?s re-entry into the long-distance business will help create jobs in the telecommunications industry and save customers money.
?The CWA is supporting Qwest?s long-distance re-entry because it?s good for jobs and it?s good for customers,? said John Thompson, Communications Workers of America vice president, district 7. ?Qwest?s local markets are open to competitors and it?s time to bring the benefits of real long-distance competition to millions of people in the West, as well as create good, high-wage jobs in the telecommunications industry.?
?Qwest is thrilled to have the support of John Thompson and thousands of CWA members in states throughout our region,? said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president for policy and law. ?CWA?s endorsement underscores the value to everyone of creating competition in the region.?
Qwest has completed long-distance re-entry workshops in 12 of the 14 states where it provides local service. Additionally, testing of Qwest?s operational support systems (OSS) is making steady progress. The Regional Oversight Committee?s OSS testing process, made up of regulators from 13 states in Qwest?s local service territory, is more than 80 percent complete and is expected to conclude by mid- to late December.
Thompson said the CWA supports concluding the long-distance re-entry process on a fast-track in order to more quickly deliver the benefits of long-distance competition. ?During these tough economic times, saving money is important,? said Thompson. ?Our 37,000 Qwest members and their families can really benefit from lower phone bills. We?re going to work to make that a reality as soon as possible.?
A study by Professor Jerry A. Hausman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Telecommunications Economics Research Program, found that customers in Qwest?s local service territory could save well over $1 billion annually in local and long-distance charges once Qwest is allowed to re-enter the long-distance market. Additionally, a report by Consumer Action, an independent consumer non-profit, found that long-distance rates are increasing everywhere except in states where the local exchange carrier, such as Qwest, has been approved to offer competitive long-distance services. The study found that rates actually decreased in these states.
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