DENVER (AP) -- CenturyLink workers in 13 states in the West and Midwest are authorizing a strike, if union leaders and the telecommunications company can't reach a contract agreement.
The Communications Workers of America said Monday that more than 88 percent of those voting backed the action.
The union and Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink are trying to reach a new contract for 13,000 employees before the current contract expires Saturday night. The employees include customer service agents, network technicians and Internet support workers.
The union approved a strike during contract talks in 2008 but a work stoppage wasn't ordered.
CWA spokesman Al Kogler said the union opposes a proposed increase in health care premiums and wants to bring more jobs back to the U.S.
CenturyLink workers in Montana are negotiating a separate contract.
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