State troopers reject contract offering 13.5% pay raise

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The Ohio State Troopers Association overwhelmingly rejected the state’s contract offer, with 92 percent voting against ratification.

The vote, which closed Wednesday night, was 1,491 to 127, union officials announced Thursday.

The state and Ohio State Troopers Association reached a tentative contract agreement last week for the approximately 1,700 state troopers and other employees, with pay raises package and stipend accruing to 13.5 percent over three years.

Sgt. Jeremy Mendenhall, president of the Troopers Association, cited several reasons for the contract rejection, including the fact troopers have not had a raise for nine years and in fact took what amounted to pay cuts in 2009 because of “furlough days.”

More importantly, Mendenhall said the administration of Gov. John Kasich gave higher-ranking, non-union employees a larger raise, amounting to 11.5 percent in the first year alone. He called that a “collective slap in the face to troopers in the field who have been called upon to carry the load and maintain the mission of the patrol.”

The union will now return to the bargaining table, or possibly enter into outside mediation with the state.

“Ohio has successfully reached agreements with the other employee unions and we are disappointed that members of the Ohio State Troopers Association rejected an agreement that was fair to workers as well as the taxpayers,” Tom Hoyt, spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services, the state agency that negotiates labor agreements, said in a statement.

The troopers union is the last of five state employee unions to reach a contract settlement. The union had been working under an extension since the old pact expired on July 1 last year.