NJ Transit, Union Closer to Deal That Would Prevent Strike

NJ Transit and the union representing rail workers are making progress coming closer to a contract settlement on Tuesday, union leaders told reporters.

More than 4,000 workers have been without a contract for almost five years. The union is prepared to have workers go on strike Sunday, March 13, if a contract is not settled.

President Barack Obama has convened two emergency panels in the last several months. The panels made recommendations on wage increases and health insurance payments that are close to what the workers are demanding, including annual wage increases of about 2.6 percent over about six years.  NJ Transit wanted an increase of about 1.4 percent. NJ Transit claims the increases and rising health insurance costs would mean fare hikes, but the union disputes the claim.

Gov. Chris Christie was criticized Monday for saying he wouldn’t postpone a vacation today. He said his aides would keep him posted on progress and he would step in if necessary.