NJ Judge Takes Action After Protesting Workers Bring Trains to a Halt
A federal judge issued an emergency restraining order Sunday prohibiting members of NJ Transit's engineers union from taking any future job action as the agency filed a lawsuit over Friday's job action.
The moves come after a third of NJ Transit's train engineers called out Friday causing dozens of canceled trains culminating with service ending for the day in the early evening. Train commuters found themselves stranded and scrambling to find an alternative ride.
According to a report by NorthJersey.com, NJ Transit's lawsuit filed Friday called the day's job action the equivalent of a strike that "ravaged" the lives of those who depend on NJ Transit.
The agency requested the emergency order after engineers who are members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainsmen (BLE&T) continued to call out sick over the weekend. It was granted by U.S. District Judge Christine O'Hearn on Sunday, according to NorthJersey.com.
Under the order, BLE&T members may not encourage, permit or participate in any action that would interfere with NJ Transit operations. Members who violate the order could face discipline, fines or jail.
Union leadership must "immediately" tell members to stop any action about job actions.
Upset over a lack of Juneteenth holiday pay
In a letter to Brown before Friday's action, NJ Transit accused union leadership of encouraging members to call out on the state's Juneteenth holiday. BLE&T is the only NJ Transit union not to sign a new agreement that adds Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
"Please be aware that NJ Transit will not tolerate an unlawful job action and may institute disciplinary action against any employees taking such action. Further, any encouragement of this unlawful activity by BLE&T leadership will also not be tolerated and may result in disciplinary action," read the letter.
Members did not receive holiday pay for working on Friday because they are still under the old contract's terms.
During a court hearing on Sunday, Brown admitted writing an email insinuating that members should not let the lack of a paid holiday stop them from enjoying the Juneteenth holiday, according to NorthJersey.com.
NJ Transit on Monday afternoon did not respond to our request for more information.