14th District Legislators Urge Turnpike Authority, Administration to Accept Unions’ Olive Branch to Help Achieve Savings
Senator Linda Greenstein and Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo and Dan Benson today called on the NJ Turnpike Authority and the Christie administration to stop the assault against toll collectors and instead work with them to achieve the cost savings they are aiming for through a hasty privatization plan that could impact nearly 700 workers on both the Turnpike and Parkway.
The 14th District Legislators noted that toll collectors unions have agreed to roughly $35 million in concessions to help save the state money and preserve existing jobs.
“It’s unconscionable to try and balance this budget, or future budgets, by chipping away at the livelihoods of working class residents,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “Toll collectors have not caused our budget problems. In fact, they have helped bring in an enormous amount of revenue to support our transportation needs and are proving that they are willing to be part of the solution through collective bargaining. We’ve seen enough privatization plans to know that the salt-of-the-earth workers are the ones who suffer.”
“This administration needs to re-examine its approach to cost savings. Time and again, we see a one-sided attack approach employed, rather than coming to the table in a productive manner to reach a workable compromise,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “With the unions readily offering up major concessions it makes more sense to work with them through collective bargaining to achieve the cost-savings the state is seeking right now.”
“Even after holding a hearing on this issue last week, we still have little answers in terms of how a privatization plan will affect existing employees or how much it will ultimately save the state,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Toll workers have demonstrated an extraordinary willingness to sacrifice right now. This administration should hear them out and make a good faith effort to achieve savings and efficiencies through negotiations, rather than a hasty move towards privatization.”