Ohio Turnpike workers authorize Labor Day strike, possible boycott

| 7/30/2002

On July 18, Ohio Turnpike workers from Teamsters Local 436 in Valley View, OH, voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if current contract talks fail to yield an agreement. There were only four votes not to strike from more than 900 toll workers who joined the Teamsters in March.

"Our members are united in their fight for justice," said Gary Tiboni, president of Local 436. "Unless a fair agreement can be reached, we're looking at a strike around Labor Day."

The turnpike workers have been working without a contract since Jan. 1 and have not had a raise for 19 months on the most profitable toll road in the world. The Ohio Turnpike has averaged $50 million in profits over the past six years.

"These men and women are looking for basic union rights on the job, seniority rights and improved schedules," said Rick Kepler, lead organizer for the turnpike workers. "The Teamsters are prepared to demonstrate their solidarity and support for these new brothers and sisters on the turnpike when the time comes to do so."

If there is a strike, the Teamsters will direct all union truckdrivers, carhaulers, UPS drivers and other union members who use the turnpike to find alternate routes. The union and turnpike commission will continue to negotiate through next week.
-- By René Tankersley