\New Jersey Transit negotiations resume to avert strike set for Sunday

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AJ Ross has more from Newark Penn Station.

New Jersey Transit and its rail workers unions are continuing negotiations Monday in Newark as both sides work to agree on a wage and benefits package that would avert a strike this coming Sunday.

A union spokesman says there has been progress, with the help of federal mediators.

New Jersey Transit workers rallied Saturday morning in advance of the possible strike, which has been authorized by a dozen unions that represent thousands of New Jersey Transit rail employees. The strike would begin at 12:01 a.m. March 13 if a settlement isn't reached. The primary issues are wage and health insurance increases, as well as back pay. The unions have been working without a contract since 2011.

Contract negotiations so far have been called "productive."

New Jersey transportation officials explained Thursday what would happen if rail workers go on strike next weekend, as they predicted alternate forms of transportation would accommodate fewer than four in 10 commuters who travel into New York each weekday.

CLICK HERE for more on the contingency plan

New Jersey Transit is the largest statewide public transportation provider in the country and provides roughly 1 million passenger trips daily on rail, bus and light rail.

About 105,000 people commute into New York via trains, either on NJ Transit or in combination with PATH, which is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Martin said the contingency plans will accommodate a maximum of about 40,000 people.

Gov. Chris Christie says he's monitoring the negotiations, but he added that it won't keep him from taking a vacation.

Christie has said he's going on vacation to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. He plans to be back by the end of the week.
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