Motor Carriers Strike ‘Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times’ Over Gas Prices

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Teamster negotiators for the 20 motor route carriers on strike against The Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times expect another session with a federal mediator on Tuesday, the union local’s business agent said.

Jonathon Bowman of Teamsters Local 92 said Daily Times Publisher Clifton E. Forrest forced the strike when he withdrew from the “extension of retroactivity” in the contract that expired last June. “He’s the one who dropped the ball,” Bowman told E&P. “I had to put the [management offer] to a vote, and [drivers] turned it down unanimously.”

The drivers went on strike at the southern Ohio paper Friday, primarily over the gasoline compensation provisions in the expired contract, Bowman said. “The average price of gas around here runs $1.95 to $2.05 a gallon, and the compensation they receive for that” is insufficient, he said.

Forrest did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Bowman said he did not know how long the motor route carriers had been unionized, but he guessed it was for at least two decades. Earlier this year, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. sold the 13,881-circulation Daily Times to Heartland Publications.

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