March 16, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Trenton, NJ- NJ Transit and the 11 unions representing 4,200 of its railroad workers reached a tentative contract agreement March 11, averting a possible strike that could have shut down the nation’s third-largest commuter-rail system.
Though neither side released details of the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported March 13 that it would cover eight and a half years, from 2011 through 2019, and give workers raises totaling about 21%. Workers who retired since the last contract expired in July 2011 would also get retroactive pay. The raises were slightly more than those recommended by two federal mediation panels and rejected by NJ Transit management, but the unions also agreed to concessions on health insurance. The agreement would add deductibles to workers’ policies and nearly double costs for some. The unions will begin voting on whether to ratify it this week. “The incredible unity at the bargaining table was Labor at its best,” National Conference of Firemen and Oilers General Chairman Mike Pistone said in a statement. Read more