NJ Transit strike: Negotiators make no progress, headed to Washington
Negotiators made no progress Friday on a new contract for NJ Transit union workers — and the parties will move to Washington next week, hoping to avoid a crippling strike.
WIth just over two weeks until a possible strike, representatives met on Friday and but did not reveal specifics of their talks.
"Both sides called National Mediation Board today to say we do not have an agreement," Steve Burkett, a spokesman NJ Transit Rail Labor Coalition union coalition told NJ Advance Media. "The Rail Labor Coalition is prepared to talk anywhere and anytime at the negotiation table, and welcomes any help from outside parties."
NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said in an email to New Jersey 101.5 that "the National Mediation Board has called a meeting, and NJ Transit will attend.
The NMB is an independent federal government that facilitates labor-management relations within the nation’s railroad and airline industries to avoid interruption in operations.
The coalition of unions for NJ Transit workers has been without a contract for the past five years and has called for a strike on March 13, the day after a cooling-off period ends. A federal labor board created to mediate the dispute has recommended that NJ Transit raise workers’ pay by about 2.6 percent per year over the next 6 1/2 years. NJ Transit interim executive director Dennis Martin called the wage and health proposals “exorbitant” and “excessive.”
Sen. Cory Booker welcomed the NMB's involvement.
"With a service disruption looming, risking a complete catastrophe for New Jersey commuters and the regional economy, we simply cannot afford to stand idly by. It’s imperative we take every opportunity to find a path forward and reach a fair deal," New Jersey's junior senator said in a statement.
As the date for a strike gets closer, the unions have called for a rally at the Tanzman Recreation Center in Woodbridge hosted by Woodbridge Mayor John McCormick and state Senator Joseph Vitale.