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N.J. Turnpike Tells Union Toll Collectors ‘Take It Or Leave It’

Their choice is rather simple: Accept pay cuts or find another job. The unionized change-making cashiers toll collectors on the NJ Turnpike are considering the pay cuts this weekend. Though they have through Monday to either accept it or reject it, their union boss is recommending it.

Although New Jersey will be going to a cashless toll-collection system in 2013, under their new two-year agreement, when all is said and done, the cashiers’ toll-collectors’ pay will drop from an average $65,000 per year to $49,5000 on July 1, 2012, with an interim drop to $57,000 this July 1.

Plus there’s more:

The agreement – if approved when the board meets at the agency’s Woodbridge headquarters at 2 p.m. today – will also dismantle years of benefits the Christie Administration has criticized as excessive.

[snip]

Franceline Ehret, president of Local 194 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, said Thursday afternoon that she signed off on the deal because it may have been the only chance to save the jobs of the nearly 700 turnpike toll collectors she represents.

“We went over the agreement,” Ehret said after meeting with Turnpike Authority officials Thursday morning. “I just signed off on it.”

All in all, nearly $50k a year to make change isn’t a bad deal, considering the abuse some motorists have taken over the years, including:

…threats of violence, vulgarity, and racial slurs have allegedly been directed at drivers (but only on occasion, of course, since most toll takers are of a sunny disposition, as most motorists can attest). And then there are the booth inhabitants who woo female motorists with sexy talk about strip searches and flashing.

View complaints here.

In all, if the cashiers toll collectors reject the offer, their jobs would likely go to a private contractor and motorists may be stuck with friendlier cashiers…or EZPass.

Quite the dilemma.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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