Off The Rails: Bergen Assemblyman Has NJ Transit Workers' Backs

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. — One after the other, current and former NJ Transit employees shared stories  of discrimination with lawmakers at a Friday hearing in Trenton. Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D- Bergen) of Englewood says there is systemic disorder among the NJ Transit leadership.

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson.

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson.

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"NJ Transit’s handling of general operations repeatedly has been a subject of inquiry over the last few years, but what we’ve learned today is just disturbing," said Gordon, who has an office in Teaneck. 

Johnson represents the 37th district, covering Alpine, Bogota, Cresskill, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Hackensack, Leonia, Northvale, Palisades Park, Rockleigh, Teaneck and Tenafly.

"Its operations may be more comparable to a train than we thought -- one that has fallen off the rails."

Todd Barretta, who was recently fired from NJ Transit as a compliance officer, said he was terminated for raising safety and other concerns, the Miami Herald reports.

Barretta told the Herald the specific reason for his termination was because he failed to return a computer, although he has receipts showing that he did.

NJ Transit executive director Steve Santoro himself told lawmakers he didn't know how the company was operating at all, the article says.

"One documented account after another of employee discrimination and intimidation is enough to warrant a thorough look into current policies governing employees and diversity of NJ Transit," Johnson said.

“Multiple settlements and trials in recent years should sound the alarm for the state to investigate claims of racism, sexism, gender and pay discrimination. Questions of safety, training, and favoritism were raised this morning that cannot be ignored.

“Whether it’s a collective of 'bad actors' that must be held responsible for their actions, even if it means removal from their positions, or overhauling human resource policies governing employer/employee relations and starting from scratch, employees should be supported and protected in the workplace. 

"It’s the law and it’s the state’s duty to ensure NJ Transit stays on the right side of it."

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