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NJ Turnpike toll managers, supervisors agree to contract givebacks to avoid outsourcing

June 26, 2013


From NorthJersey.com

Toll supervisors and managers on the New Jersey Turnpike agreed Tuesday to a four-year contract that strips them of snow bonuses, reimbursed commuting expenses and other benefits the Christie administration deemed excessive.

In exchange, the Turnpike Authority agreed to keep their jobs in house, rather than farm them out to a private firm.

The bargaining agreement between the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers Local 200/200A, which represents about 260 supervisors and managers on the turnpike, was approved unanimously Tuesday by the authority board.

About 100 members are toll supervisors and the rest are maintenance supervisors and administrators, said John O’Hern, deputy executive director of the authority.

A call to the Local 200/200A offices was not returned. Turnpike officials, however, said the contract ensures the jobs will remain with the state at least until the contract expires in October 2015.

“These people will not be replaced by a third-party contractor through the end of their contract,” said Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim. Two years ago, under a threat by the Christie administration to turn over manual toll collection positions to a private firm, the toll workers agreed to take a dramatic pay cut and to surrender several other benefits over two years.

The authority put out a public request for companies to submit proposals for taking over the manual collection operation. The request did not include the privatization of the roads itself, just the employees. Four firms submitted proposals, but the authority ultimately agreed to keep the toll collectors after the unions agreed to multiple givebacks.

Under a memorandum of agreement, Local 194 of the IFPTE, which represents 199 full-time turnpike toll collectors, and Local 196 of the IFPTE, which represents 136 full-time parkway toll collectors, agreed to cuts that took annual base salaries for full-time toll collectors from roughly $65,100 in 2011 to $49,500 by July 1, 2012.

They also agreed to accept that their positions would be eliminated as of July 1, 2013.

On Tuesday, however, Hakim said the authority remains in talks with the unions. She declined to provide details, but said there is a 90-day extension that keeps the existing agreement in place.

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