Crew shortage leads to rush hour delays on NJ Transit

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NEWARK, N.J. — Rail labor representatives say there is no threat of a labor strike after NJ Transit commuter trains were delayed earlier this week due to absent crews. The issue was related to a shortness of manpower on the commuter railroad’s extra board crew list, NJ.Com reports.

NJ Transit commuter trains were delayed during the evening commute on July 17 due to crew shortage issues for Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, and Princeton Shuttle trains.

The unexpected cancellations sent fear into commuters that the agency might be headed for a strike or other labor dispute regarding recent schedule changes at Penn Station.

The news site cites an NJ Transit representative who was unauthorized to talk about the matter as saying that slow-moving crews picking up work assignments led to the delays. The representative indicated a revised summer work schedule, a side effect of the New York Penn Station track closure, is the reason that new assignments are moving slower than expected.

A local representative with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen responded to Monday’s crew shortage saying the issue was not related to slow moving crews reluctant to pick up work assignments, but instead, an engineer shortage on the railroad’s extraboard.

James P. Brown, the union representative, says there is an engineer shortage due to the Penn Station track project. The modified schedules are keeping engineers from operating trains back-to-back in a round trip rotation. As a result, the railroad is using more people off of its extra board, which in turn, makes crews less available for work.

Brown says the shortage is putting more railroaders to work and some employees are having to work their scheduled days off in order to keep trains adequately staffed.

He assured the public that engineers are not frustrated with the schedule changes and there is no threat for a labor strike. According to him, engineers bid on their work assignments several weeks ago.

Buses were provided to those inconvenienced by train cancellations on Monday and Tuesday. 

See the original story online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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