Striking advertising sales representatives at Dex One Corp. have laid down their picket signs and gone back to work — without a contract.
Casey Lewis of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1269, which represents 350 or so Dex sales reps in Utah and six other Western states, said the union made the decision to end the strike because many of its members were nearing a point where they would be facing financial difficulty.
Workers returned to their jobs Wednesday.
“Many of our members’ medical care benefits were about to expire, and we didn’t want to see that happen,” said Lewis, president and assistant business manager of the Local. “Of course, a lot of our members also wanted the strike to continue.”
Dex sales reps, including about 50 in Salt Lake City, took to the picket line in early May, protesting what they contended was a failure of the company to bargain in good faith on a new labor contract. Dex publishes the Yellow Page directories and operates the Dex Knows website.
At issue was a provision that Dex wanted included in the contract language that would allow it to use third-party businesses and other vendors to sell the company’s advertising and other services.
The union maintained under that provision all of its members’ jobs could be outsourced at the company’s whim. But Chris Hardman, spokesman for Dex, said what the union described as outsourcing was in the company’s eyes “concurrent selling,” which eventually would allow Dex to expand its sales efforts using outside vendors as it transitions from a print to digital focus.
Lewis said negotiations with the company on a new contract are continuing, but that the outsourcing issue remains unresolved.
“We have made progress,” he said. “The company has softened its stance, but they still don’t want to give us any assurance in writing that they won’t do away with any of our members’ sales jobs through outsourcing.”
Hardman said the company welcomed the return to work of the IBEW represented employees. “We will continue to bargain in good faith and hope to have a new collective bargaining agreement in place shortly.”