Kathy Liebler

Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations

C  O  M  M  I  S  S  I  O  N       N  E  W  S       R  E  L  E  A  S  E

Media Contacts:

Bill Capone, 717-939-9551, ext. 3040 (mobile: 717-645-2247)
Kathy Liebler, 717-939-9551, ext. 2840
Carl DeFebo, 717-920-7176

November 22, 2004


Turnpike Chief Warns Travelers of Possible Strike on Wednesday

Thanksgiving motorists might consider altering Turnpike travel plans.


HARRISBURG, PA. (NOV. 22, 2004) — Pennsylvania Turnpike officials are alerting holiday travelers of the possibility of a strike by toll collectors and other unionized Turnpike employees sometime on Wednesday Nov. 24 — the day before Thanksgiving and the busiest travel day of the year on the 531-mile toll-road system.

“We do not want to cause alarm, but all indications are that the union may be considering some type of a labor action on Wednesday,” said Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier. “We expect 650,000 cars and trucks will use the Turnpike on the day before Thanksgiving, and we wanted to give travelers advanced notice of the chance of a work disruption.”

Brimmeier said the Commission’s priority will be to keep the highway open. “We are absolutely committed to maintaining the smooth flow of traffic and a high level of safety and service on the road throughout the entire holiday period,” he reassured motorists. He added, though, that travelers bound for the Turnpike may want to consider departing earlier and allowing for extra travel time this Thanksgiving.

Approximately 2,000 union employees represented by Teamsters Locals 77 and 250 have been working under a contract that expired Sept. 30, 2003. Union bargainers abruptly ended the most recent round of talks on Nov. 15.

“We have submitted a new contract proposal to the union representatives that is fair and generous for our hard-working employees,” Brimmeier said. “In order to avoid a strike on Wednesday, we hope that the union leadership will send our proposal out to the rank-and-file members for a vote.”

Brimmeier said that the proposal — which represents the Commission’s final offer — includes an enhanced, fully paid healthcare package that matches management benefits, annual pay increases programmed over each of the next three years as well as contract language that would help to ensure job security.

In the event of a system-wide work stoppage, the Commission will charge a temporary flat toll of $2 for passenger vehicles and $15 for commercial vehicles — regardless of distance traveled. No toll tickets will be issued at entry. All E-ZPass customers will pay a MAXIMUM toll of $2 for passenger vehicles and $15 for commercial vehicles. That is, if the standard toll is LESS THAN the temporary flat toll, E-ZPass customers will pay the standard toll. Commercial credit cards will not be accepted. Turnpike travelers can tune into Highway Advisory Radio 1640AM for updates.

Increased Pa. State Police presence at toll plazas will help ensure order at interchanges in case of a walkout.


 P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649