- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - The two remaining rail unions negotiating with New Jersey Transit have reached tentative agreements with the agency, all sides confirmed Saturday.

But it’s not yet known when each group will vote on its respective proposal.

United Transportation Union Local 60, which represents conductors, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and NJ Transit also did not disclose specific details on the agreements.

The unions were part of an 11-member coalition that reached deals with the agency in March. That came about 24 hours before the deadline for a strike, which would have marked the system’s first walkout in more than 30 years and crimped the region’s commuter traffic.

About 105,000 people commute into New York each weekday via NJ Transit, the nation’s third-largest commuter railroad.

The other unions in the coalition have ratified their deals. Each union voted on specific contracts for their units.

More than 4,000 workers overall are affected by the deals, which came about after a lengthy negotiating process that involved two emergency federal labor boards convened by President Barack Obama.

The unions had been working without a contract since the last one expired in mid-2011. Details of the agreements they reached have not been made public.

In announcing the tentative agreement with rail unions in March, Republican Gov. Chris Christie promised there would be no fare increases at least until the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2017. That was welcome news for commuters who have endured five fare hikes since 2002.

NJ Transit last year increased bus and rail fares an average of 9 percent as it sought to close an estimated $60 million budget gap.

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