New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech joined prominent elected officials and top union leaders for a rally on Saturday to express support for 4,200 NJ Transit rail workers who have been working without a contract for five years.
The NJ Transit Rail Labor Coalition representing 17 local unions are facing a March 13 deadline for a strike or lockout. President Wowkanech joined speakers including Congressman Frank Pallone (CD-6) and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (LD-19), who chairs the Assembly Transportation Committee, to call for talks to continue until a fair settlement is reached. The rally across from the Woodbridge Train Station was co-hosted by state Sen. Joseph Vitale (LD-19) and Woodbridge Mayor John McCormick.
In addition, approximately 36 elected labor officials have signed on to a letter urging a fair end to the dispute.
The rail workers have been without a contract since 2011 and have negotiated in good faith. The unions agreed to accept the recommendations of a Presidential Emergency Board commissioned by President Obama, even though the recommendations included concessions. Normally, an agreement is reached based on the Presidential Emergency Board’s recommendations. However, Gov. Christie and NJ Transit have chosen to ignore these recommendations, and are making preparations for a strike. This would inconvenience an estimated 200,000 daily commuters by keeping them from getting to work. This is not good-faith negotiating!
We stand solidly with our brothers and sisters in the NJ Transit Rail Labor Coalition and urge Gov. Christie and NJ Transit Interim Executive Director Dennis J. Martin to accept the Presidential Emergency Board’s recommendations.