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

December 1, 2004


For Immediate Release


Tickets will be issued at entry. Commercial credit cards accepted.

HARRISBURG, PA -- December 1, 2004 -- The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has reached a tentative agreement with its collective bargaining unit, ending a seven-day-old work stoppage. Some 1,800 union employees, including toll collectors and maintenance workers went on strike last Wednesday, November 24, at 4 a.m.

Turnpike Chief Executive Officer Joe Brimmeier said, "We are pleased to announce this breakthrough which has ended the work stoppage. Both negotiating teams were determined to reach a tentative agreement during lengthy negotiating sessions that began Monday, November 29th at 2:30 p.m. and ended around 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30th. The bottom line is that all our efforts resulted in a tentative agreement that is fair and reasonable -- good news for members of the collective bargaining unit, Turnpike managers who have been staffing toll lanes and especially for Turnpike customers."

Brimmeier commended the more than 270 management employees who were assigned to collect tolls at 36 Turnpike interchanges for “their exemplary service. These men and women, representing every level of management, performed magnificently, provided a high level of customer service and ensured the safe and smooth flow of traffic during the busiest holiday travel period of the year. I cannot thank them enough for their dedication and commitment.”

At 12:01 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, managers-turned-toll-takers began collecting flat fares established by the Commission -- $2 for passenger vehicles and $15 for commercial vehicles, regardless of distance traveled. No tickets were issued upon entry. E-ZPass customers paid a maximum fare of $2 for passenger vehicles and $15 for commercial vehicles and if the regular fare was less than the temporary flat rate, E-ZPass customers were charged the smaller fee.

Turnpike officials said that starting at 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 1, tickets will be issued to customers and normal tolls will be collected at all interchanges along the Turnpike mainline, from the Warrendale Mainline Toll Plaza to the Delaware River Bridge and on the Northeastern Extension to the Wyoming Valley Toll Plaza. Toll collectors will resume accepting commercial cards. An eight-hour grace period until 5 a.m. Thursday, December 2 will be allotted to customers who entered the Turnpike during the period that tickets were not issued.

Those customers will be charged the flat fees of $2 for passenger vehicles and $15 for commercial vehicles until 5 a.m. Thursday. Customers exiting the Turnpike without a toll ticket after 5 a.m. Thursday will be charged the lost ticket fare which is the toll from the point of exit to the farthest point of entry.

Throughout the strike period, tolls were not collected on the Turnpike’s western Pennsylvania expansion highways and at the mainline toll plazas at Gateway near the Ohio border and Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit near Scranton on the Northeastern Extension. These toll plazas were not staffed allowing motorists free travel. Toll collection at those locations resumed at 9 a.m., December 1st.

Brimmeier said that usage of E-ZPass contributed significantly to the maintenance of smooth traffic throughout the strike adding that at the onset of talk about a strike possibility, the rate of E-ZPass applications nearly doubled. “Our plan worked extremely well,” Brimmeier said. “We experienced no major complications or problems.”

Brimmeier added that although no major snowstorms occurred over the holiday period, particularly in western Pennsylvania, “we were prepared to handle that aspect as well.” More than 75 maintenance foremen and assistant foreman along with some temporary hires were ready to operate snow equipment, he said.

Union employees represented by Teamsters Locals 77 and 250 have been working under a contract that expired September 30, 2003. It is expected that union workers will vote on the tentative agreement over the next few weeks.


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