NJ Toll Takers File Suit Over Plan to Privatize

Friday, Mar 25, 2011  |  Updated 7:15 AM EDT
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NJ Toll Takers File Suit Over Plan to Privatize

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TRENTON -- A union representing highway toll collectors is suing the New Jersey Turnpike Authority over attempts to privatize their jobs.

Thursday's federal lawsuit claims the workers' First Amendment rights were violated when the Turnpike Authority eliminated a provision giving them a right of first refusal to privatized jobs.

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers claims the provision was eliminated after the union protested the privatization effort now under way.

Turnpike Authority Executive Director Ronnie Hakim says lawyers recommended the provision be modified after workers flooded private companies interested in taking over toll collections with applications.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie wants to privatize toll collections on the turnpike and Garden State Parkway. The move would eliminate more than 600 jobs on the turnpike and 175 on the parkway.

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