Saturday, July 08, 2000

Troopers reject contract offer

Negotiations will yield to binding arbitration

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — State troopers have overwhelmingly rejected a proposed contract that would change work shifts and increase penalties for overweight officers.

        The Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers Association said Thursday the final tally was 1,317 against to 47 for the contract.

        Jim Roberts, the association's executive director, said the contract was “not simply disappointing but demeaning to the people who willingly put themselves at risk for the people of Ohio every day.”

        The old contract expired June 30.

        Law enforcement officers are prohibited by law from striking, so troopers will continue working while the contract goes to binding arbitration.

        The state and the union will present final proposals to an arbitrator, who will prepare a contract that both parties must accept.

        Mr. Roberts said money was not the major issue. Troopers were offered the same pay package — raises of 3 percent, 3.5 percent and 4 percent over three years — as state employees in other unions.

        Work shifts and penalties for out-of-shape troopers weighed heavily on troopers' minds in contract voting, Mr. Roberts said.

        The state wanted to schedule rotating work shifts for troopers after 15 years of largely fixed work schedules.

        It also sought to increase pen alties for overweight officers. The state can now suspend troopers without pay for up to three days every six months if they do not meet physical-fitness standards. The proposed contract would have increased that to five days suspension every three months.

        Steve Gulyassy, head of the state Office of Collective Bargaining, said the state had to take a stand on the weight issue.

        He said some individuals saw the current system “as almost a nondiscipline.”


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- Troopers reject contract offer