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The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), along with nine other unions, are requesting the arbitration process for their negotiations with New Jersey Transit.The 10 unions, which are part of the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition, asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to proffer arbitration after reaching an impasse in contract negotiations with the transit agency.
The coalition represents 88 percent of the rail union membership at NJ Transit, and was formed in recent months. The coalition also includes the American Train Dispatchers Association, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Conference Firemen & Oilers/SEIU, SMART Transportation Division and Transportation Communications Union.In a March 27 letter to the NMB, BLET National President Dennis Pierce described the differences between the parties as "immense," union officials said in a press release."It is clear an impasse exists," he wrote.NMB officials asked the parties to meet in Washington, D.C., later this month. By law, the NMB must first proffer binding arbitration to the unions and NJ Transit before it can release the parties from mediation.