OHIO Turnpike workers union rejects state's report

Tollkeepers want protection from layoffs if automation is installed.
NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio -- By a vote of 497-9, full-time toll collectors and maintenance workers belonging to the United Turnpike Workers union have rejected the recommendations of a state-appointed fact-finder in their labor dispute with the Ohio Turnpike Commission.
Major issues are wages, health insurance and job security, the union said in a news release Tuesday. The union wants protections against layoffs of tolltakers should the turnpike install an automated toll collection system and opposes a proposal that its members pay part of their health insurance premiums.
The union said negotiations on behalf of its 280 part-time toll collectors have also reached impasse. Issues there are the turnpike's refusal to grant part-time tollkeepers preference for full-time job openings, the union's effort to close or reduce the approximately $5-an-hour pay gap between part-timers and full-timers, and the union's desire for paid vacations and health insurance for part-timers.
The union said it hopes a settlement can be reached without a strike and that it believes the turnpike, whose revenues have doubled over the past decade, can well afford to offer good pay and benefits to its employees.
A spokeswoman, reached Tuesday at the commission's Berea headquarters, said she wouldn't comment until she consulted with Gino Zomparelli, turnpike executive director.

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