Progress Through Unity

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.