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Victory in New Jersey

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, June 27 — Rail Labor scored a major victory for railroad workers in New Jersey on June 26 when Governor Phil Murphy signed the “New Jersey Transit Corporation Employee Protection Act” into law. The law prohibits NJ Transit from asserting sovereign immunity to escape rail worker lawsuits under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) and other federal rail statutes.

The new law effectively reverses the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that NJ Transit was entitled to avoid FELA lawsuits as an “arm of the state.” That ruling would have halted existing FELA suits and would have prevented all future FELA federal court claims. The new law sets things right.

Members of the New Jersey State Legislature took action to combat the wrong-headed Court decision in the form of S3164, sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14) and Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D-18), and A4689, sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-14), Yvonne Lopez (D-19) and Carol A. Murphy (D-7). Both Houses of the State Assembly unanimously ratified the final bill on June 20 by a vote of 74-0. Final language of the bill is available at:

“I thank BLET General Counsel Mike Wolly for his role in drafting the legislation and the New Jersey State Legislative Board for its efforts to lobby for passage of this much needed law,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “I also thank all BLET members in New Jersey as well as their families for contacting their members of the state legislature regarding this bill. United in solidarity, we were able to score a major victory by preserving the rights and protections that our New Jersey Transit Brothers and Sisters have enjoyed throughout their entire careers.”

President Pierce also thanked members of the BLET National Mobilization Team for helping to organize membership action on this issue.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

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