Strike halts New Jersey Transit

New Jersey's 70,000 train commuters to New York had to scramble for alternate transportation as 600 railroad conductors and trainmen struck New Jersey Transit , a state-operated carrier.

Another 90,000 commuters from upstate New York and Connecticut fared better, Monitor correspondent Ed Townsend reports, because Metro-North rail lines and its conductors and trainmen agreed to continue contract talks for another week.

Issues in the two disputes are different. Metro-North wants to cut one member from each train crew to reduce costs. New Jersey Transit wants to eliminate pay for the two hours crews have off between shifts in their 10-hour workday, a reduction the striking United Transportaion Union (UTU) says would cost its members an average $6,000 a year. Conductors now average $29,400 a year (rising to $33,400 in mid-1986) and trainmen $27,400 (going up to $31,200).

The UTU says it's ready to talk, but not to make concessions. New Jersey Transit put more than 500 buses into emergency operation, opened ''park and ride'' lots, and had other contingency plans for commuters. Most were resigned to travel delays. And one lot reported that about 1,000 commuters had to wait in line for up to an hour to get on buses.

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