LIRR Unions: MTA's Latest Offer "Grandstanding;" May Skip Talks

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 01:21 PM

LIRR passengers buying tickets at Penn Station (Daisuke Fujii/flickr)

The lead negotiator for a coalition of Long Island Rail Road unions is not happy the MTA went public with its latest contract offer before formally presenting it to labor.

"Instead of sitting down with the only people who can make a deal," said Anthony Simon, "the MTA chose the route of cheap political grandstanding. It's painfully clear MTA is not serious about negotiating a settlement."

The MTA had scheduled a bargaining session with the union for this upcoming Friday. On Tuesday, it called a press conference to unveil the offer to the media. That offer would give employees a 17 percent raise over seven years — and require new employees to pay more into pensions and health care costs than current workers. Simon called that "permanent two-tier system...totally unacceptable."

Now, union leaders say they're debating whether to even attend those talks.

MTA chief Tom Prendergast said "we have moved considerably, and we have a proposal on that table that we think can provide the basic framework for a deal and avoid a strike." He added that the agency's latest offer, if extended to the entire LIRR union coalition and Metro-North workers — who are also without a contract — would cost the agency an extra $40 million annually in operating costs.

"When we say that we can afford it within the financial plan," Prendergast said, "we are affording it at great sacrifice. But when you're faced with a looming strike, and the impact that will cause to the economy and the riding public, you need to get to a different level. And we have gotten to a different level."

The earliest the unions can legally strike is July 20.




Comments [5]

Jon from Ct

You guys have no idea how dangerous those jobs are. All of the work it takes to makes those trains run and keep them running. Spend a day in the life and then open your mouths.

Jun. 27 2014 11:00 AM
Eric F

The key thing is to ensure that LIRR employees can continue retiring in their 40s with full pay and benefits for life. We can't risk having public employees toil into their 50s and 60s, it's simply inhuman. Nothing makes me happier than seeing private sector workers in their 60s fork over $500 a month for train passes and parking fees to ride packed, delayed trains in order to ensure that LIRR retirees 20 years younger than themselves can live well in Florida.

Jun. 27 2014 09:20 AM
Derek from Ct

Maybe the MTA could pay them if they would stop going over their capital budget by hundreds of millions! Not an easy job those guys have. Pay them the money.

Jun. 27 2014 02:29 AM
Rick O'Connell from NY NY

Maybe there would be more money available
for a contract settlement if numerous LIRR
employees hadn't ripped off the system for
many years with false disability retirement
claims. Most people work very hard to make
ends meet on much less salary and benefits
than LIRR employees make. They just don't
have the ability to get what they want by
striking and inconveniencing hundreds of
thousands of people trying to support their

Jun. 26 2014 10:46 AM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

If anyone really feels that the LIRR workers are asking for too much, then take their jobs yourselves for less otherwise stop complaining about it, because they work very hard just to make ends meet.

Jun. 25 2014 03:46 PM

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