Workers at the Pennsylvania Turnpike could go on strike as early as Sept. 30, when their current contract expires, if a new agreement is not reached.

More than 1,500 toll collectors, maintenance workers, and equipment operators are represented by two Teamsters Union locals currently negotiating salaries and benefits with turnpike executives.

A strike likely would mean motorists would pay a single toll regardless of the length of their trip, turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said. E-ZPass users would pay either the flat fee or the regular toll, whichever is less.

During a week-long strike by turnpike workers in late 2004, the flat toll was $2 for cars and $15 for commercial trucks. Tolls have risen about 50 percent percent since then, but no price has been established yet for a flat toll in case of a strike this year.

Toll collectors' wages now start at $19.76 an hour and rise to a maximum of $22.69 after three years.

Maintenance workers and equipment operators start at $20.20 an hour and they can earn $23.13 an hour after three years.

The turnpike workers are represented by two Teamsters locals: Local 77, headquartered in Fort Washington, represents 843 fulltime and 57 supplemental workers and Local 250, in Pittsburgh, represents 647 fulltime and 34 supplemental employees.

Union leaders did not return calls Wednesday.

While it's unclear how far apart management and labor remain in negotiations, supervisors have been given assignments for staffing toll booths and maintenance garages in case of a strike.

Contact staff writer Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or