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NEWARK, NJ—Governor Chris Christie announced a new tentative agreement with the eleven unions representing NJTransit workers on March 11, but decided not to disclose the financial specifics of the deal.
If approved by the unions involved, the new agreements will run through 2019, and serve to avert a strike that would have impacted commutes across the tri-state area.
"I don't belive the members of the union wanted to strike," said Christie, who said the workers would have only gone so far as to strike if they felt his administration was not operating in good faith.
"They care about their customers. They don't want to hurt the customers and inconvenience them," Christie said. "They don't want to go without pay."
The announcement came after days of uncertainty about the nation's third largest passenger railroad system, which would likely have shut down if a strike took place sometime on Sunday, March 13.
"These things always come down to near the end," said Christie at the late-evening press conference. "People generally don't settle until they have to, and we're about 30 hours or so from have to."
It would have been the first transit strike in New Jersey since 1983, when a union-sponsored work stoppage lasted 34 days.
Christie had reportedly been out-of-state for his 30th annniversary since March 8, but said he cut his vacation short to deal with the negotiations.
"The job is the job," said Christie, who had been heavily criticized for spending so much time out of state for his failed Presidential campaign, which racked up a bill of more than $1 million for the state's taxpayers.
"Once I knew this was not going to be settled before I went on vacation, I knew I was going to cut it short."