791/UTW Negotiating Committee: From left, front row: Terry Crandell, UE General President John Hovis, Local 791 President Shawne
Wise, UE Field Organizer Al Hart, UE General Council Polly Halfkenny. Second Row: Sally Harlan
(Part-Time), Charles Reed (Part-Time), Sherri Kasson, Darrell Brown, Alisha Urbina (Part-Time). Third
Row: John Arvai, Jim Lustik and Tom Stotz.
After months of careful and detailed preparations, bargaining
between UE Local 791, United Turnpike Workers, and the Ohio Turnpike
Commission began Nov. 20. As the UE NEWS went to press, UE expected to
present proposals, discuss bargaining ground rules with management, and set
additional negotiating dates at that initial session.
Local 791, UTW, represents 900 turnpike workers, both toll
collectors and maintenance workers, both full-time and part-time. The union
officially requested multi-unit bargaining for both full-time and part-time
workers. The Turnpike Commission indicated it is prepared to begin bargaining
immediately with the goal of achieving a contract before Jan. 1, 2002. The
current full-time contract expires on Jan. 1; the part-time contract expires
on March 1, 2002.
UE Local 791 leaders have been organizing greater membership
involvement in negotiations to win the contract gains they know they deserve.
EMPHASIS ON INVOLVEMENT
Work Schedules Bargaining Subcommittee, one of five subcommittees
through which rank-and-file members developed bargaining goals. From
left, Pamela Feher, Veronica Collins, Jonna Johnson and Sherri Kasson.
Much of the union effort has concentrated on involving as many
members as possible in the negotiating process in keeping with UEs
belief that an involved and active membership is the best route to making
significant contract gains.
More than two-thirds of turnpike workers have responded and
provided their ideas in either written or telephone contract surveys. Five
different subcommittees composed of rank-and-file members have met and
developed concrete contract goals, dealing with a variety of proposals.
And during the last two weeks of October, members met in zone
meetings, had lively discussions about bargaining priorities and voted to
adopt comprehensive contract goals and to authorize the negotiating committee
to present those proposals to the Commission.
Additionally, Local 791 has taken other important steps to
involve all members, including an e-mail Contract Reporter. A UE Local
791 web-site (www.ue791utw.org) is
frequently updated and expanded. The United Turnpike Worker newsletter
has been consistently published on a monthly basis and special editions will
be printed and distributed as needed throughout the bargaining period. A
toll-free number (877-791-9499) provides regular updates on important issues.
As bargaining continues, Local 791 plans to show the
Commission that members solidly support their union and its bargaining
ASSISTANCE FROM NATIONAL
In addition to its efforts to inform and involve all members
in the bargaining process, Local 791 has received much assistance from the
National UE. Research Dir. Lisa Frank, Intl. Rep. Gene Elk, and General
Counsel Polly Halfkenny have all led training workshops on bargaining in
preparation for meetings with the Commission. UE General Counsel Halfkenny has
been added to the Local 791 bargaining committee and will attend all sessions,
along with Field Org. Al Hart. UE Genl. Pres. John Hovis will also be
available for bargaining.
UE News - 11/01