On March 10, 2016, NJ Transit Vice President and General Manager R.M. Lavell issued a notice to all NJ Transit employees represented by the Union Coalition. In his notice Mr. Lavell states that in the event of a strike the Carrier will take the following action: All existing positions will be suspended; all employees on sick leave will no longer receive sick leave compensation; and all striking employees will have their insurance benefits discontinued effective the first day of the strike. NJ Transit also submits an implied threat against Coalition represented probationary employees.
It is apparent that NJ Transit’s notice to the Coalition members represents retaliatory action and harassment of the Coalition members. This draconian action taken by NJ Transit while the Parties are engaged in the negotiation process illustrates NJ Transits unreasonable position and unwillingness to reach an amiable solution which is fair to both Parties.
The Union Coalition has engaged in ongoing negotiations with NJ Transit with the objective of reaching a settlement without the necessity of engaging in a strike. Two Presidential Emergency Boards have issued recommendations which are consistent with the Coalition’s proposals; and of which the Coalition has fully agreed to comply with. Yet NJ Transit refuses to acknowledge these recommendations and continues its assault on our members.
We object to NJ Transit’s conduct in this matter while the Parties are fully engaged in the negotiating process. Such action on NJ Transit’s part is counterproductive to reaching an amiable solution through the negotiating process.
Presidential Emergency Board 248 has issued its recommendations to settle the four year contract dispute between New Jersey Transit and the Rail Labor Coalition of fourteen unions representing 4,300 union workers.
The recommendations on the major issues of wages and health insurance contributions fall much closer to the terms proposed by the Coalition than those proposed by New Jersey Transit, although the Board did backload its wage recommendations to accommodate the railroad's budgetary concerns.
The PEB found that the Coalition proposals were appropriately based on settlements in the commuter industry, while the company's unprecedented reliance on a state worker concessionary contract was not persuasive.
Coalition spokespersons said, "The Presidential Emergency Board, composed of three veteran, distinguished neutrals, has proposed terms that represent a reasonable compromise approach to settlement. We sincerely hope that New Jersey Transit will now take this opportunity to bring this protracted dispute to an end."
Read the full recommendation here: PEB 248 Recommends New Jersey Transit Contract Terms