Progress Through Unity

Archives for May 2017

Teamsters Protest Worker Lockout By Shore Point Distributing

Freehold, N.J.) – Teamster members, union allies and supporters are protesting Shore Point Distributing’s lockout of its workers, as are Shore Point’s retail customers.

On April 30, Shore Point, Freehold, New Jersey, locked out 113 of its workers in an attempt to force them to give up their pension, accept a 3-year wage freeze, and agree to give the company permission to change their health insurance plan and co-pays at any time.

These workers are members of Teamsters Local 701 in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Local 701 had been in negotiations for a new contract with Shore Point since Feb. 28, 2017. The workers and their union wanted to continue negotiations, but Shore Point locked them out instead.

Payroll Information

Reminder due to the Memorial day holiday all time cards for the pay period ending May 23, 2017 must me at verification/ROC by Thursday May 25th by 11:00am.

Payroll needs to be completed and submitted Friday this week.

Thanks and have a safe holiday


GC Assault Letter Read at NJT Board of Directors Meeting 5/17/17

Good Evening,


I am the General Chairman of SMART TD Local #60, I represent the conductor, assistant conductor and ticket collectors that work here at New Jersey Transit Rail. My topic of discussion tonight though involves all NJT workers such as bus operators, ticket agents, police officers, station cleaners and even the employees in this building  who assist our passengers during events or emergencies.


N.J.S.2C12-1, in plain terms is a law dealing with assaults on a another person. It was amended in 1996 to include specific language regarding New Jersey Transit employees.It states…


(F) Any operator of a motorbus, any employee of a rail passenger service or any employee of the New Jersey Transit Corporation while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as an operator of a motorbus, an employee of a rail passenger service or an employee of the New Jersey Transit Authority


This revision upgrades a simple assault to aggravated assault for affected employees.

I have repeatedly stated that the assaults are rising not only against my members but all of New Jersey Transit employees. The issue at hand is that the amended law is not being followed. The assault takes place, the person responsible is hopefully arrested, your employees receive medical treatment. Then, instead of the case remaining in the County/Superior courts it is being downgraded  by prosecutors across the state to local courts as a simple assault. This is being done without any input from the victim or the arresting officer.The convicted person walks out of court with nothing more than a small fine, if that much. Sometimes, while the employee is still unable to resume work.


I have members who have been sucker punched without having any interaction with a passenger. The passenger was drunk or high or because they thought it would look cool to their friends as they videotaped it and then posted it online. The result is broken jaws, noses, teeth and eye sockets for nothing more than showing up to work. The employee receive no paycheck while out, but do get slammed with medical bills.They, along their families suffer, some are never able to return to their position.


Everyone sitting up front tonight, please pretend someone just ran up and physically assaulted you, broke your nose or jaw. Why,only because you are members of this board, for no other reason? This is what my members go through on a  daily basis. Thankfully we have our officers here to insure your well being so it could not happen.


Recent Amtrak delays have only made this situation worse, the trains are overcrowded, understaffed and delayed. The delays are only going to get longer while the frustration of passengers are at a breaking point. I should also mention the concerts or sporting events where alcohol plays a huge part in the assaults.


I will continue to work with  Executive Director Santoro, Chief of Police Trucillo and their support teams on this disturbing issue. We all agree the end results need to be better for the transit employee. I would love to see a designated group, internally, to assist the employees through the entire ordeal including court hearings. They should not be victimised twice by a process for an unwanted assault while trying to earn a living.  


Thankfully, Governor Christie has now publicly weighed in on the delays. I am asking that you go back to Governor Christie, ask for his assistance in enforcing the language of the existing law. Let him use his authority in telling ALL state prosecutors, no more downgrading of charges in our aggravated assaults. Not just for train crews, but bus operators, police officers and all employees covered in the law’s language.  It will be a zero cost item to him, or to the budget at New Jersey Transit.


If we can deter any future assaults by adhering to a law that is already on the books, it would be priceless.


If Governor Christie wishes to come and see for himself, the overcrowded trains and being short staffed, I will be happy to escort him around the property.
Thank you for your time.

Empower/Great West Retirement

Recently employees have received a letter concerning the non-agreement 457 plan, this letter was sent out to all members in error.

There will be a retraction letter sent out from Empower, please disregard as this does not effect our 457 or 401 accounts.


GC Report May 2017

Download (PDF, 106KB)

House of Representatives passed an anti-worker bill

Brothers and Sister,

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed an anti-worker billed misguidedly labeled as the “Working Families Flexibility Act” (H.R. 1180). This harmful legislation would let employers give workers paid time off instead of being required to pay one and a half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a work week.

H.R. 1180 encourages employers to require excessive hours because overtime work would become cheaper and allow the employer to determine when the compensatory time off is allowed. This anti-worker bill would result in longer hours, less pay and more unpredictable work schedules for those who are not fortunate enough to have a union contract to protect them.

During a time when our nation’s elected leaders should be focused on creating good paying American jobs, H.R. 1180 does nothing more than provide employers with an opportunity to cheat their employees out of their earned overtime pay.

Attached is a letter I sent to every Member of Congress urging them to vote NO on this anti-worker bill. You can find out how your elected representatives voted by clicking the link below.

In solidarity,
John Risch
National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division


Day At The Races

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Local 60 Dues Increase

The monthly dues deduction designated for the General Committee will increase this month. The General Committee has been reviewing the account over the last four months. A full investigation of past, present and future costs was conducted, tabulated and thoroughly discussed prior to the Local Chairmen voting on  this increase. If you have questions regarding this issue or any other please come to the Local meeting this Sunday.

Thank You

Stephen J. Burkert

General Chairman

RRB Analysis: Trump’s budget to gut Amtrak would be disastrous for ALL rail workers

If signed into law, President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would eliminate Amtrak’s long distance train service. The immediate fall out would be significant for all American rail workers resulting in the loss of 10,000 non-Northeast Corridor Amtrak jobs by the end of this year.

According to a recent report by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) Actuary, the impact of such job losses would result in a long-term decrease in Railroad Retirement benefits and overall increase in taxes.

Impact on RRB benefits & trust funds if 10,000 Amtrak jobs cut

While RRB accounts could absorb the loss of 10,000 Amtrak jobs, the cumulative impact of losses in the rail industry, including approximately 30,000 jobs that have been lost in just the last two years, will take a significantly negative toll on the entire system. Attached you will find the RRB’s detailed projection in loss of jobs, loss of benefits, and major increase in railroad unemployment benefits projected for 2017 and 2018.

The time to act is NOW

We must urge fellow members, friends and family to call, email and write our national elected officials  to OPPOSE any budget that would cut 10,00 Amtrak jobs, eliminate commuter rail service and irreparably harm the retirement benefits that all railroad members worked for a lifetime to secure.

Click here to urge your elected representatives to oppose any budget cuts to Amtrak’s long-distance train service via the Legislative Action Center (LAC).

In solidarity,
John Risch
National Legislative Director
SMART Transportation Division