By David Madden

(CBS) – Amid plans by the state of New Jersey to privatize their jobs, unionized toll collectors on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway are offering a series of concessions, hoping administrators have a change of heart.

The average toll collector now earns about $65 thousand a year, far more than their counterparts in Pennsylvania or the DRPA. Requests for proposals have gone out, with bids expected back by early March, for a private firm to take over toll collection. That would cut salaries drastically.

Union members have pleaded for the state to reconsider, according to New Jersey Turnpike Authority spokesman Tom Feeney.

“We’ve met with the union leaders,” Feeney says. “They’ve proposed ways to reduce the cost of toll collection.”

By how much he won’t say, although published reports put the number at up to $14 million, including more than $2 million in salary givebacks. The authority has to decide by late April whether to take the concessions or go the privatization route.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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