NJ toll takers file suit over plan to privatize

TRENTON - (AP) - A union representing highway tollcollectors is suing the New Jersey Turnpike Authority over attemptsto privatize their jobs.

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

The International Federation of Professional and TechnicalEngineers claims the provision was eliminated after the unionprotested the privatization effort now under way.

Turnpike Authority Executive Director Ronnie Hakim says lawyersrecommended the provision be modified after workers flooded privatecompanies interested in taking over toll collections withapplications.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie wants to privatize tollcollections on the turnpike and Garden State Parkway. The movewould eliminate more than 600 jobs on the turnpike and 175 on theparkway.

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