What if Larry Miller came to Karl Malone and said, "Karl, I'll pay you your $35 million, but you can only have it if Greg Ostertag averages 30 points and 18 rebounds a game." Sound ridiculous? That is exactly what the contract proposal that US WEST is offering their craft employees will do to my paycheck.

They insist that I can make more with 20 percent of my salary at risk, based on performance, than the current pay structure. Company bargainers are paid by the phone company, yet sadly, they aren't phone men. It is apparent that they don't fully understand what it takes to make a phone line work or they would throw this proposal in the trash. No other phone company in the country has asked their employees to endure this ill-conceived pay plan.As a member of Communication Workers of America, I am not afraid to compete or excel. I don't need a whip over my head. Members of CWA already have committed our-selves to excellence and collectively are the best telephone technicians in the world. If I had complete control of all the variables to my daily work, I would take their offer. But my productivity is tied to at least 10 different variables, of which I have no control. To me, that is unacceptable. Instead of trying to make me work faster and longer, US WEST, take away the roadblocks to productivity and service that you have placed in my way.

To my customers, the people I deal with every day, face to face, I say that I'm sorry you are caught in our family feud. Members of CWA know the difficult problems you face when the phone lines you count on to run your business are down or you can't get your phone installed when you move into your new home. It is our prayer that the bargainers from both sides will come to a satisfactory accord.

To US WEST bargainers, I add, you have forced your craft employees to learn to get their work done despite the obstacles which you throw into their paths. They have the resolve to complete this job, too. Why don't we show our customers that life really is better here?

Jay Stocks

Member, CWA Local 7704