The Latest: Talks to avert New Jersey Transit strike resume

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on negotiations aimed at preventing a strike by New Jersey Transit rail workers (all times local):

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10:55 a.m.

Talks have resumed between negotiators for New Jersey Transit and its railroad workers unions aimed at reaching an agreement to prevent a strike for the nation's third-largest commuter railroad.

NJ Transit special counsel Gary Dellaverson told reporters, "Today's the day" as he arrived. Dellaverson says he feels there's no reason they shouldn't be able to reach an agreement Friday.

The unions have authorized a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Wages and the cost that employees contribute for health benefits remain sticking points.

Union officials were angered when NJ Transit sent notice to union-covered employees that their health benefits would end if they strike.

NJ Transit says the notice is required under federal law.

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9:45 a.m.

Commuters and businesses are bracing for the worst as negotiators for rail unions and New Jersey Transit meet to try and avert a weekend strike.

More than 100,000 commuters use NJ Transit to get into New York City, and the transit agency says its contingency plan using extra buses will only be able to accommodate about 40,000 riders.

In New York, a business group has estimated that each hour the rails are shut will cost businesses about $6 million.

NJ Transit has estimated that a one-hour commute by train would more than double.

Negotiators are meeting in Newark to try to reach agreement on wage increases and health care costs.

The unions have authorized a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Sunday. Workers have been without a contract for five years.