Labor unions to hold rally Saturday as NJT strike looms

Published: March 2, 2016

njtransit2New Jersey Transit GO 610 General Chairperson Stephen Burkert reports that a labor rally will be held Saturday, March 5 at 11:00 a.m. in support of the Rail Labor Coalition (Coalition) and their fight with New Jersey Transit (NJT) for an amenable contract.

The rally will be held across from the Woodbridge, N.J. train station at the Marion & Norman Tanzman Park. The station is located at Pearl St., between Main & Green Streets in Woodbridge.

“We ask that you please do not mark off to attend the rally,” Burkert said. “We do not want this to be misconstrued as a job action. That being said, there has never been a better opportunity for you, the member, and your family to have your voices heard. Spread the word, bring all your friends and carpool.”

The rally is being sponsored by the Coalition, Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac (D) and Senator Joseph Vitale (D – N.J.) to help promote awareness of what is going on with contract negotiations and possible work stoppage. Again, members are encouraged to attend only if on a relief day or during a break.

Discussions between the Coalition and NJT have been ongoing for four years. The Coalition last met with the carrier on Feb. 26 in Newark, N.J. No agreement as a result of these discussions could be reached.

The Coalition will next meet with NJT Friday, March 4 in Washington. The National Mediation Board (NMB) will be in attendance at the meetings and it is the hope of the Coalition that NJT will be persuaded to come to a more amenable agreement.

“I will continue to make myself available at anytime if the carrier decides they want to talk before or after the NMB meeting,” Burkert said.

“I want to reassure everyone that we as officers are working on your behalf 24/7 and that includes SMART TD headquarters. Vice President Doyle Turner and SMART TD Associate General Counsel Erika Diehl-Gibbons have attended all of the meetings and are constantly monitoring progress to ensure compliance with our constitution.

“SMART TD President Previsich is in daily communication concerning the effect it is having on our members and the progress of the talks. Our National Legislative Director John Risch has helped in getting Washington involved in realizing this is much bigger than New Jersey. I, along with New Jersey State Legislative Director Dan O’Connell, are still having daily meetings with our state officials to gather as much support as we can and we have met with passenger coalition groups to explain the ramifications of a work stoppage on commuters.”

A strike date has been set for March 13 if an agreement cannot be reached.