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Workers mull pact offer; vote may take 10 days



Published: Tue, January 25, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



CLEVELAND (AP) -- Ohio Turnpike workers who delayed a strike set for Monday will have seven to 10 days to vote by mail on their employers' contract offer.

The Turnpike Commission would not discuss the terms of its offer, which was made early Monday after a 13-hour bargaining session.

Teamsters Local 436 President Gary Tiboni said he did not know if the union would recommend that members reject the offer. He would not comment further.

The offer was made after union officials representing the turnpike's 704 toll takers and 293 maintenance workers resumed bargaining with the commission Sunday afternoon to try to reach a settlement on outstanding wage and health care issues.

The strike was scheduled to start at 12:01 a.m. Monday. It would be the first in the turnpike's nearly 50-year history.

Last month, the commission approved a plan to use a flat toll to keep traffic flowing during a walkout.

The price to drive on the state's only toll road would be $1 for a car, $5 for a bus or small truck and $10 for a larger commercial vehicle. Distance traveled would not matter.

A key issue in contract talks involves the commission's request that workers pick up a portion of their health care costs. Workers currently do not pay any of the cost.

The union is asking for a 5 percent wage increase versus the 1 percent the commission originally offered.




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