Union leaders representing CenturyLink workers in 13 states have moved closer to allowing a strike but plan to continue negotiations with the telecommunications company.
The Communication Workers of America announced Thursday that its executive board has authorized the union's president to set a strike date, which would be the final step in going on strike.
Union spokesman Al Kogler says nothing is imminent and the union still hopes to reach a good contract for 13,000 employees who formerly worked for Qwest Communications.
The employees for the Monroe, La.-based company include customer service agents, network technicians and Internet support workers.
Nearly 90 percent of them voted to authorize a strike in October.
Kogler says sticking points include increased health care premiums and bringing more jobs back to the United States.