NJ Transit union rejects deal that averted strike

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Members of a union representing some New Jersey Transit rail workers have become the first group to not ratify a new contract with the agency.

The New Jersey Transit Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen announced its decision in a statement posted Friday on its website. But a vote tally was not disclosed.

Union officials say they will now return to the bargaining table with NJ Transit, though it's not clear when that will happen.

NJ Transit declined comment on the matter, saying it had not yet received official word of the vote.

The union was part of an 11-member coalition that reached deals with the agency in March. That came about 24 hours before a strike deadline.

Each union in the coalition voted on specific contracts for their units. Eight unions have ratified their deals, while the two remaining unions planned to vote Saturday.

More than 4,000 workers overall are affected by the deals.

The unions have been working without a contract since the last one expired in mid-2011. Details of the agreements they reached have not been made public.

Once all the unions ratify their contracts, NJ Transit's Board of Directors will vote on it. Gov. Chris Christie will then have the final say on the agreement.

Approximately 105,000 people commute into New York each weekday via NJ Transit, the nation's third-largest commuter railroad.