The Maine Turnpike Authority yesterday said it's cutting 20 jobs, a move that will save about $1.25 million annually. Union officials, however, said the layoffs are illegal because the union doesn't have a contract and is supposed to be in status quo.
MTA Executive Director Peter Mills said the positions cut will mostly be supervisors, according to the Bangor Daily News. Thirteen supervisor jobs will be eliminated and their duties consolidated into four new jobs. Other affected jobs include clerks and seasonal plow drivers. Affected employees were notified Tuesday, and their jobs won't be cut until Jan. 1. They could move to other jobs in the authority that become available.
Brian Oelberg, chief negotiator for the Maine State Employees Association, said the layoffs violate the status quo terms under which employees have been working since their last contract expired in December. The union this week also filed a complaint with the Maine Labor Relations Board, saying MTA has negotiated in bad faith.
MTA has been holding public meetings on a plan to raise tolls to help pay down its debt. Mills said the layoffs are unrelated to that plan, and stem from an organizational study commissioned a few months ago.
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