Toll Collector Woes - New York News

Toll Collector Woes

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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) - In 2010, Governor Christie created the New Jersey Privatization Task Force, which was a comprehensive effort to review opportunities for privatization across the state and ultimately save New Jersey money.

One group in particular has been impacted greatly by these efforts. Kevin McCarthy, President of Local 194 which represents the toll collectors, discussed how concessions made in 2011 by the toll collectors were very steep. Prior to those 2011 concessions, the total estimated cost for part and full time employees was over $36 million. However, after the 2011 concessions, costs were lowered to over $14.5 million, saving the state over $22 million.

McCarthy said that after such steep cuts, they simply couldn’t make more concessions.

“This is New Jersey. Any more concessions would put these people at a poverty level,” he explained.

Unfortunately for them, the state still wants more. The efforts to privatize the turnpike would bring pay down to just $12/hour for full or part time collectors, with no benefits.

Cecelia Wilkens, who works the midnight shift at Exit 14C is taking care of her son and has expensive medication she won’t be able to afford if the latest concessions go through.

“I’ll lose my job, I’ll lose my benefits, I’ll lose my way of life,” she said.

Apparently these changes aren’t anything new. Local 194 Assistant to the President Frank Forst explains how he always knew that efforts like this were always in the works.

“The previous president ran into the governor about three years ago and he pointed his finger right at him and said, ‘we’re gonna privatize your jobs’ he says that they get paid too much and get too many benefits, the fact is this is the first governor in 45 years that we haven’t been able to meet with,” he said.

To clarify, it was actually Jon Corzine who first proposed to privatize the turnpike and the parkway. The question remains however, isn’t it really the technology that is putting these people out of work with the increase in EZ Pass users?


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