March 3, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Trenton, NJ – After talks Feb. 26 failed to get any closer to an agreement, contract negotiations between NJ Transit and its rail unions will move to the National Mediation Board in Washington this week.
The 11-union Rail Labor Coalition, which represents about 4,200 workers whose last contract expired in 2011, has voted to strike March 13, after a 60-day cooling-off period ends. A previous federal panel, the Presidential Emergency Board, largely sided with the unions in January, recommending that workers get raises totaling about 18% over 6 1/2 years, while increasing their contribution to health-insurance premiums to 5%. NJ Transit interim executive director Dennis Martin called that “exorbitant” and “excessive.” NJ Transit has proposed raises averaging about 0.6% a year, with the workers’ share of health-insurance premiums increased to 10% to 20%, according to the unions. They say that would nullify any pay increase. Read more