About a dozen unions representing thousands of New Jersey Transit rail employees have authorized a strike at 12:01 a.m. March 13 if a settlement isn't reached. The primary issues are wage and health insurance increases, and back pay. The unions have been working without a contract since 2011.
The transit agency and union representatives met with federal mediators in Washington Friday. Both sides return to the bargaining table on Monday to avert a strike. 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 4 in 10 commuters who travel into New York each weekday.
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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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.