By The Associated Press
MATTOON - More than 150 employees of a telecommunications company in eastern Illinois have gone on strike as contract talks have stalled.
Consolidated Communications and a workers' union have been negotiating since October. A key issue has been pension reform. A federal mediator has been helping facilitate negotiations.
The Times-Courier in Charleston and Mattoon Journal-Gazette reported yesterday that talks broke down last week.
Officials with Local 702 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers say the strike was in protest of ``bad faith bargaining.'' Union workers include technicians and customer service representatives.
Officials with the Mattoon-based company say no television, telephone or Internet services will be affected as a result of the walkout. A company spokesman says there's a contingency plan to minimize customer impact.
Both sides planned to meet today.