NJ Transit union workers rally a week before possible strike
Hundreds of NJ Transit employees turned out in Woodbridge for a rally a week before a possible strike.
The message of the rally from union leaders was they don't want a strike but are prepared to lead their members to the picket line if an agreement is not reached by Saturday with NJ Transit management.
"We have done everything in our power to talk this through rather than have any type of work stoppage," Stephen Burkert, general chairman of the transportation division of SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers told the crowd, according to NorthJersey.com.
NJ Transit and the coalition of employee unions called New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition held talks in Washington with the National Mediation Board and will meet again on Monday in Newark.
"While the discussions were positive and constructive, no agreement was reached," the NMB said in a statement.
NJ Transit union workers have not had a raise in 5 years. “Everything goes up, the cost of food goes up — luckily in the last year the gas has come down — but over the past five years it wasn’t the case. Everything’s gone up, but salary hasn’t," employee David Decker told CBS New York.
State Senator Joe Vitale offered his support to the crowd and let them know how important NJ Transit is to the regional economy.
"Proud to host, stand and rally for a fair contract with several hundred union workers - the men and women of NJ Transit who keep our trains and buses moving hundreds of thousands of people every day. 5 years without a contract. Let's get it done," Vitale posted on his Facebook page.
About 100,000 NJ Transit riders would be affected by a strike by 4,200 union workers. NJ Transit has announced its contingency plan to accommodate rail riders but said 65,000 commuters would be without a ride.