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Why We Can't Have Nice Things
The Sorry, Dangerous State of NJ Transit
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  • Matthew Mitchell

    Part of the reason for the very high annual pay of commuter rail operating employees is that they work very long hours, and often six days a week. Crews like the money, and paying all that overtime ends up costing NJ Transit less because they don’t have to pay additional fringe benefits and they don’t have to pay the exceptionally high Railroad Retirement payroll tax (rail workers’ federal pension system predates Social Security, and since rail employment has declined over the years, there are fewer workers to support each retiree). The wage situation is not as outrageous as it looks at first glance.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Really? These people are doing work that my dogs could be trained for…it is heavily automated even at this point in development. Perhaps they are experiencing a small premium because of the hours involved, but they are still making almost double what they really should expect, so yes…the wage situation (remember that the $111k is BEFORE benefits) is in fact at least as outrageous as it looks at first glance.

      • JR

        I live in New Jersey and deal with these people every day. They are decent, hard working folk but goodness knows, they are not super bright. They are definitely overpaid. That’s just a cold-hearted marginal value conclusion.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I am sure that many are fine people, many not, but ultimately it isn’t relevant…there were lots of wonderful buggy whip artisans too, and I don’t think that anyone believes that we should have preserved their jobs indefinitely.
          Lets be really blunt about this, if these people weren’t unionized, most of them would have been replaced years ago, and those remaining would be making less and far more accountable for their actions. We can feel regret for this (and I often do, as it happens….watching someone lose their job is never fun, no matter how rational the result might be), but ultimately this is the way it must be if we are to have a healthy economy.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I hope you will forgive the joke….”You live in Jersey? What exit?”

          • JR

            Joke if you must, but NJ Turnpike is one of the better roads out there in terms of getting you there and maintenance. In general, and this an opinion of a total neophyte, the condition of highways and roads in Northern Jersey is pretty darn good. Now the whole tunnel fiasco into Penn Station is a whole another story.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually i couldn’t agree with you more. I lived in NJ several times, and what I found amusing is that while the NJT is the backbone of the state, once you get about 10 miles from it, it is like being in a completely different world….

  • Andrew Allison

    I assume that Gov. Christie’s proposal for a $0.23/gallon fuel tax will be welcomed by the electorate [sarc]. When will they figure out that public service employees are bleeding State and Local governments dry?

    • Frank Natoli

      And the second half of Christie’s proposal was to cut the state sales tax 1%, in effect giving the average NJ resident more back than taken in gasoline tax. You didn’t know that? Democrats in both houses of the legislature refused, happy to wait for a Democrat governor who will increase and never decrease taxes. Nevertheless, the electorate will happily give Democrats the power to do just that.

  • Fat_Man

    Is this not a further demonstration of the Blue Model crunch. The pay and benefits of current and retired employees suck up all the money that is available to fund services for the blue models real victims, the taxpayers.

  • ljgude

    So the attempts to eliminate workers with automation should be quite bun fight. Figuring out the social side of that equation is the tricky part. No sense in replacing people with automation and not working out what those people are going to do. Our grandfathers has the wit to cut the work week from 80 to 40 hours a week and here we are unable to figure out how to avoid paying overtime in our antiquated system because our double the OECD average health care system costs more than the penalty rates designed to limit hours to 40 a week. As Dirty Harry would say: “Marvelous!”

  • Frank Natoli

    “Starving the beast” has been the GOP way for decades.
    Strange, but nowhere in the article do I see “Gorging the beast has been the Democrat way for decades”, thus clearly indicating the author’s political bigotry.
    Not to worry. Come November 2017, the voters in my home state will give everything to the Democrats, who will immediately enact a Connecticut and New York style law disarming law abiding citizens [or rendering them felons for failure to comply], raise the gas tax several hundred percent [no joke, no exaggeration] and open the taxpayer floodgates to the unions, private and public.
    Should I hold my breath for TAI to write about “gorging the beast”?

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