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Development & Transportation

Turnpike Workers’ Strike Not Likely

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says the employee walkout in 2004 that forced it to collect a flat toll fee from motorists for a week isn't likely to occur this month as employees negotiate a new contract. The Commission is in talks with more than 1,500 Teamster union workers, whose deal is up at the end of the month. Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said both sides want to reach an agreement.

"Teamsters union has been in place at the Turnpike Commission for more than 40 years and we've got a close working relationship, and only once in that time has there been a road bump, if you will."

The union members are toll collectors and maintenance workers. DeFebo said he doesn't anticipate a work stoppage. "We've got to do something if collectors and maintenance workers walk out," DeFebo said. "And there's a plan that involves collecting a flat fee and having management or non-union employees staff the maintenance sheds and the toll booths."

He said while they consider that option as a last resort, they have an obligation to have contingency plans prepared. The last time union members went on strike, it was after they had worked on an expired contract for a year.