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Friday sick calls by engineers shut down NJ Transit

By | June 20, 2022

Weekend operations return to normal after what agency calls ‘illegal job action’

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Trains at station
Trains at station
NJ Transit trains meet at Elizabeth, N.J., in August 2019. The agency had to shut down operations on Friday evening because of a high number of engineers calling in sick. (Trains: David Lassen)

NEWARK, N.J. — A NJ Transit spokesman said the agency would “explore all legal remedies” in the wake of a sudden shutdown of all rail service last Friday, June 17, as a result of what it called “an illegal job action” by members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

After cancelling more than 50 trains during the day, NJ Transit announced about 6:30 p.m. on Friday that it was temporarily suspending operations for the remainder of its service day.

NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith told the New York Times that engineers called in sick throughout the day at three times the normal rate, leading to service cancellations.

The BLET is the only one of the 15 rail unions that has not agreed to a new contract with NJ Transit. As a result, while other unions have contracts including Juneteenth — which fell on Sunday, and was observed in New Jersey on Friday — as a paid holiday, the BLET’s does not.

“It is clear that this is the result of an illegal job action,” Smith said in a statement reported by NJ.com. “NJ Transit is disappointed that the union would perpetrate such an act on the more than 100,000 commuters who depend on NJ Transit rail service every day.”

The union did not respond to requests for comment from several media outlets.

7 thoughts on “Friday sick calls by engineers shut down NJ Transit

  1. What chaos. The rest of the world (post office, federally regulated banks, many employers) observes Juneteenth on today, Monday 20th, this year. New Jersey observes in on Friday 17th. How can anyone make plans? If New Jersey goes to Sunday/ Holiday train service on Friday, how do people whose holiday is Monday get to work on Friday? Or a Jersey resident who works in New York? Or for that matter, it’s not a holiday for everybody, not by a long shot.

    Nothing good comes of one more paid day off, the very last thing this country needs. Go to work and observe Juneteenth when you get home.

    1. Better yet, many companies and organizations are keeping the number of paid holidays, say 10 which I think is the number in our company or something like that, the same and implement a floating holiday for those who might prefer to take or observer a certain holiday. To me that is more than fair and good way to balance the diversity of this county. So if someone wants their floating holiday be Chinese New Year, go for it, or Juneteenth day, go for it

    2. Wrong, absolutely wrong, this country needs MORE holidays, not less. Americans already overwork themselves as is and I think there should be at least 1 Federal holiday per month, and some days that aren’t holidays should be(like Sept. 11). The Feds could actually mandate when creating the holiday the day it’s observed on(as is done with many other Federal holidays) so as to prevent just the situation you have in New Jersey.

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