NJ Transit blames train service cancellations, suspension on 'illegal job action'

NJ Transit said its engineers staged an illegal job action on Friday forcing the cancellation of more than 30 trains for the morning commute. The transit agency then suspended rail service into and out of New York City on Friday evening. 

"NJ Transit became aware of a rumor late in the day yesterday that the locomotive engineers’ union, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLE&T), could potentially initiate an illegal job action today," said Jim Smith, an NJ Transit spokesman. "With today’s engineer call outs at nearly triple the rate of an average weekday, it is clear that this is the result of an illegal job action."

According to the union's website, BLE&T is at an impasse with NJT regarding contract negotiations. 

"I want to remind everyone about saving for a possible strike," wrote union Chairman Jim Brown back in March.

"NJ Transit is disappointed that the union would perpetrate such an act on the more than 100,000 commuters who depend on NJ Trainsit rail service every day. We intend to explore all legal remedies in response to this illegal and irresponsible action," said Smith.

"NJT is trying to stall our 10.4% campaign," added Brown.

The NJT website shows cancelations for the evening rush.

Rail tickets and passes were being cross-honored by NJ Transit Bus, Light rail, private carriers, and PATH at Newark Penn Station, Hoboken, and 33rd Street.

NJ Transit is the country's third-largest provider of bus, rail and light rail transit.