March 24, 2011- The union that represents toll collectors and other employees on the New Jersey Turnpike filed a lawsuit in federal court today asking a vote to privatize their jobs be delayed.
Gov. Chris Christie has been pushing for privatization of the toll collection operations, but had offered to let the toll collector union find the savings in their contract and remain a state operation. The unions offered to take pay cuts, but Christie hasn't agreed to a new contract.
The Turnpike Authority released a "request for proposal" to allow private companies to bid on the contract to run the tolls.
The unions is upset because the Turnpike Authority removed a requirement that any company that takes over the tolls hire current collectors before looking elsewhere, according to a news release. Referred to as the "right of first refusal," the requirement would ensure current toll collectors did not lose employment.
The IFPTE Local 194, which represents the toll collectors, claim that the right of first refusal was removed in retaliation for union members criticizing the decision to privatize the toll collection operations.