NJ Transit to announce contingency plan for possible rail strike
With the possibility of a rail strike looming, NJ Transit announced that it will present a contingency plan Thursday that will be put into effect in the event of a work stoppage this month.
"NJ TRANSIT faces the prospect of a complete shutdown of its commuter rail service should the membership of its rail unions opt to participate in a work stoppage," the agency said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "In the event of such a job action, NJ TRANSIT has developed a contingency plan that would accommodate as many of the existing New York-bound customers as possible."
NJ Transit did not elaborate on details of the plan. A press conference to discuss what will happen in the event of a strike is set for Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Seacaucus Junction train station.
During Monday night’s Ask The Governor program, Gov. Chris Christie briefly discussed the ongoing negotiations between the the coalition of 11 employee unions, NJ Transit Rail Labor Coalition and NJ Transit. He did not provide details about a possible contingency plan, but stressed that every extra dollar given to the unions comes from fares and taxpayers.
“We’re in the midst of pretty intense negotiations,” Christie said, but would not discuss exactly where the negotiations stand at this point, and whether he believes a strike will, in fact, take place.
Without providing any detail, the governor said he believes the state is prepared in the event of a strike.
“I am completely confident that we’ve got a contingency plan in place if this turns out to be a strike, which I don’t want it to be,” Christie said.
The governor criticized the demands being made by the unions, and the impact that the pay or benefit increases would have on taxpayers and people who ride the rails. He said any additional increases paid to transit workers comes out of taxpaers’ pockets.
“Every extra dollar I give them comes for you," Christie said. "There’s no magic money tree that we take this money off of. It’s gonna come from fares and taxes.”
On Monday, Michael Phelan, co-founder of New Jersey Commuters Action Network, said he believes the contingency plan involves NJ Transit adding “three or four dozen” buses in and out of New York City to accommodate the shifting rail volume.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.