Saturday, March 12, 2016

No rail strike in NJ; massive commuting mess averted

Did you hear that collective sigh of relief resounding across northern New Jersey?

Yes, the threatened rail strike that would have resulted in car-choked traffic lanes on New Jersey to New York bridges and tunnels is no longer a worry for thousands of commuters.

 NJ Transit officials and its rail unions have reached a tentative agreement on their long-simmering contract dispute, a day before a planned strike that threatened to paralyze the region.  

Steve Burkert, spokesman for the transit workers union coalition, announces that an agreement has been made averting a possible strike by 11 rail unions working for NJ Transit. Friday March 11, 2016. Newark, NJ, USA (Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media for

Larry Higgs reports for

No immediate details on the settlement were announced Friday night, or when union members might vote on the proposed accord, but for now commuters can breathe a deep sigh of relief. Gov. Chris Christie added there would be no immediate fare hike.
Union spokesman Stephen Burkert first announced the settlement Friday night.
"Thankfully for the commuters of NJ Transit, the crisis is averted," Burkert said. "We're going home to our families."
Speaking at press conference immediately afterward, Christie also would not get into details of the proposed settlement until union officials had a chance to review its points with membership.
"That's the appropriate thing to do," he told reporters.
Christie, who had been in Newark most of the day, said he had been confident there would be a settlement and called "all the hysteria" of the recent days "ginned up"  by the media.
"These things," he said, "always come down to the end."
A strike would have affected 105,000 daily riders to New York who would have had limited options to get to work Monday, and would have cost businesses millions. The last NJ Transit strike was in March 1983. It lasted 34 days.

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