NJ Transit Deal: Unions Got Nearly Everything They Wanted, Reports Say
Leaks of the agreement reached between NJ Transit and its union employees — averting a catastrophic strike this week — indicate that the unions got nearly everything they wanted.
The Record reported that the contract gives employees a retroactive raise dating back to 201, when the last contract ended, of 2.5 percent per year. The deal also reportedly caps employees' health insurance payments to just 2.5 percent of their base pay. The only issue considered a win by NJ Transit is the length of the contract — it goes through 2019.
Details of the agreement reached on Friday as a strike threat loomed have not formally been made public. Stephen Burkert, general chairman of SMART Local 60, which represented all 11 employee unions, wrote on the SMART website that "the proposal is for longer term than the PEB (Presidential Emergency Board) recommendations, with the general wage increases rising accordingly." He said special meetings would be held to present the proposal in full followed by a ratification vote.
Gov. Chris Christie has said the agreement was reached with the interest of taxpayers and fare payers in mind and that no fare hikes or service cuts are planned at least through June 2017.
NJ Transit on its website posted a message that it had "reached an agreement with its rail union employees, ending the threat of a rail stoppage." About 4,000 workers had threatened a strike that could have started as early as 12:01 this past Sunday.