Turnpike officials are warning all highway users that the road’s toll takers
and other union workers may go on strike Wednesday, Nov. 24, the day before
That is the
single busiest travel day on the turnpike.
“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,” Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier said in a prepared statement.
“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.”
Turnpike officials have
been warning for some time that a strike could occur. Talks broke down Nov. 15 over the issue of retroactive pay.
The contract expired Sept. 30, 2003, but union workers have worked under its
terms more than a year while negotiations continued.
If a strike did occur, it
could include roughly 2,000 workers, including toll collectors and maintenance
No new talks are scheduled
at this time.
turnpike officials and the Teamsters union – which represents the toll takers
and maintenance workers – broke down previously in late October. The Teamsters
informed state officials at that time that the union would reserve the right to
call a strike at any time after that point without notice.
The Turnpike CEO said in October that the agency was ready to run
the road should a strike occur. Non-union employees are on standby.
Turnpike officials have said that
in the event of a strike, passenger vehicles would pay a flat toll of $2, and
trucks would pay a flat toll of $15, regardless of the distance they travel on
the road. E-ZPass customers whose fares would normally be less than those
amounts will pay the smaller of the two charges.
tolls would be collected in some locations – such as the Clarks Summit and
Keyser Avenue interchanges on the
Northeast Extension – The Scranton Times Tribune reported.