CAMDEN, N.J. — On Thursday afternoon, the Hon. Christine O’Hearn, a judge on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, denied NJ Transit’s (NJT) cynical attempt to strip members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) of their legal right to hold a strike vote under the rule of the federal Railway Labor Act. Judge O’Hearn found no evidence of any illegal job actions planned or threatened. She denied NJT’s motion in its entirety. The union’s 500 members at the transit agency are currently taking a strike authorization vote. Results will be announced August 31.
“This was a nuisance motion. It was frivolous. A complete waste of the court’s time and taxpayer dollars,” said BLET National President Eddie Hall. “NJT’s CEO Kevin Corbett and his managers would rather litigate than negotiate a fair settlement with the people who keep the trains running. He would rather spend public dollars on penthouse views than train crews.”
BLET members are furious over the transit agency’s fiscally irresponsible and immoral decision to spend $440 million+ for a lavish new office building with penthouse views at Two Gateway Center in Newark, while not giving raises during a time of high inflation to locomotive engineers. The engineers’ union has been in negotiations with the stonewalling transit agency for four years and mediation for three years.
Thursday’s court action was another stunt by NJT to deceive the public through misinformation and disinformation. Corbett in recent interviews with the New Jersey news media purposely tried to confuse the media and by extension the public with statements such as ‘a court order prevents any “wildcat strike.”’
“This is shameful. These public servants at NJT should be serving the public, not deceiving them,” said Hall.
In sharp contrast, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen through its news releases and public statements has made it clear that the union would take a strike vote this month at NJ Transit. No one at the BLET is talking about a wildcat strike.
BLET has explicitly stated that the union will comply with the rules of the Railway Labor Act. The union would prefer to reach a fair settlement with the transit agency without a strike. “However, once released by the National Mediation Board, we will be ready to act,” said Hall.
The case is: New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, Inc. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (1:22-cv-04139-CPO-SAK).