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Published: Saturday, 9/7/2002

Teamsters ratify 1st pact for turnpike employees

A Teamsters union local has approved its first contract with the Ohio Turnpike Commission after replacing another union that previously represented turnpike workers.

Gary Tiboni, president of Teamsters Local 436, said a majority of the 900 full-time and part-time toll collectors, maintenance workers, and other union-represented staff approved the three-year pact, but he declined to release the specific tally yesterday.

The turnpike commission, which gave a preliminary approval to the contract at its last meeting, is scheduled to consider confirming that approval when it meets Monday.

Tim Greenwood, the turnpike commission's chairman, could not be reached for comment.

The contract provides 70-cent-an-hour raises across the board in each of its three years. This year's raises would be retroactive to Jan. 1 except for part-time toll-collectors, for whom a raise would be retroactive to March 1. Current pay scales range from $11.22 per hour for a starting, part-time toll collector to $23.12 per hour for a divisional stores clerk at the top pay step.

Up until early this year, the turnpike workers were members of Local 791 of the United Electrical, Machine, and Radio Workers of America, with separate bargaining units representing full-time and part-time workers.

The full-time workers' contract expired Jan. 1 and the part-timers' on March 1. In early March, the workers voted to replace their old union with the Teamsters.

Besides wages, Mr. Tiboni said, the tentative contract maintains full-cost hospitalization benefits for all full-time workers. The turnpike commission had sought co-payment during negotiations. New employees will have to pay 10 percent of their hospitalization costs.

The pact addresses a long-standing complaint by part-time toll collectors that they should get first crack at full-time job openings, the union head said. If the turnpike commission approves the contract, at least three-quarters of future full-time collector openings will have to be filled by promotion.

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