The Ohio Turnpike has avoided a strike by toll takers and
other workers – at least for now.
Teamsters Local 436 informed the Ohio Turnpike Commission earlier this
month that workers on the road intend to strike.
Gary Suhadolnik, executive director of the toll road, confirmed that
the agency received the letter, which listed the start date for a possible
strike as Monday, Jan. 24. However, he is still hopeful that a settlement can
still be worked out with the 997 toll collectors and maintenance
workers who belong to the union.
However, the Turnpike Commission announced at 5 a.m. EST
Monday, Jan. 24, that Local 436 has delayed the planned strike and would take the last offer received from the
commission back to its members for a vote.
Until union members
vote, the turnpike will operate as usual, toll road officials said in a
A strike, if it does take place, would be the first since the road
first opened in 1955, The Associated
The commission’s contract with the
workers expired Dec. 31, 2004. However, the two parties later extended the
agreement to Jan. 17.
Turnpike officials had warned of a possible strike late in 2004. But
the prospect became much more real earlier this month when union workers voted
overwhelmingly to reject a fact finder’s report that would have prevented a
The vote, announced Jan. 11 on the Teamsters Local 436 Web site, was
497-151 against the fact finder’s report. The fact finder was appointed to work
out differences between turnpike management and union workers.
spokeswoman Lauren H. Dehrmann confirmed that the Turnpike Commission had voted earlier to accept
the report fact finder’s report.
If a strike does occur, tollbooths along the road will be staffed with
turnpike management and some temporary and non-union workers.
In addition, a flat toll plan announced earlier will go into effect.
Vehicles will not be given a ticket when they enter the road, but will be
charged when they exit based on what category toll takers think they belong in,
Under that plan, tractor-trailers
would pay $10 to cross the state on the highway. Single unit trucks would pay
$5, and passenger cars would pay $1.