From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Gas Company Unions Fail to Get Strike Vote: The Utility Workers Union of America Local 132 and eight other locals returned to contract talks with Southern California Gas Co. disarmed by the lack of authorization to strike. The unions are fighting the utility's plan to cut workers by contracting some service jobs out to non-utility employees. In balloting tallied Monday night, fewer than 63% of members voted to strike. A two-thirds vote is required before workers can be called out. "Clearly the members voted against going out on strike, but they also voted with a large majority against contracting out," said Jerry Acosta, regional director of the Utility Workers, which represents 5,000 of the 6,000 unionized workers at the utility. Talks are scheduled to continue next Tuesday.

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