US WEST vice president Ted Smith told Utah legislators Thursday the phone company hopes to clear strike-related backlogs in the next week or two.

Nonunion managers filled in for striking workers during the strike, but work completion promises were indefinite and unfilled requests for repairs and new service mounted during the 15-day work stoppage that ended Aug. 31."For the most part, people were getting service when they ordered service. Where they were running into potential problems is where we had to dispatch someone to your home or business," Smith told the Information Technology Commission, which consists of legislators, state and local government and technology industry representatives.

US WEST has set the end of September as the time to have all back orders cleared. "But we're hopeful all of the backlog can be taken care of in the next week or two," Smith said. "We're giving periodic updates to the (Public Service Commission). The last report I got is that we were on target."

Smith's strike-season task included servicing coin phones in the Salt Lake area. "It was not a pleasant experience for some of us who aren't used to getting out there and really working."

The extra duty for managers, ironically, follows a strike where resentment over mandatory overtime was a major issue.