MTA Preparing LIRR Strike Contingency Plans

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 06:32 PM

The MTA is planning to put bus service in place if Long Island Rail Road workers strike as threatened this summer. But not every MTA board member thinks that's a good idea.

At Wednesday's board meeting, MTA board member Charles Moerdler said the proposal "gives a provocation" that would threaten the ongoing talks with the LIRR union coalition. "It says to those who are negotiating with you, 'We are challenging you.'"

His view was echoed by former New York Gov. David Paterson, a fellow board member. "That is not a good way to conduct a negotiation," Paterson said. "And if anything, antagonizes the process rather than remedies it."

But MTA chief Tom Prendergast said the agency has to move forward. "We are fast reaching the point, if we have not already crossed it, that the demand for buses during the summer will be such that we will not have any buses available if we don’t start these negotiations."

"I'd like to remind people," he added, "and I don't want to make it sound like I'm chastising, [that] the coalition has already taken a strike vote. They've already taken a strike vote."

By the end of the meeting, the MTA board voted 8 to 4 to line up private bus service if workers strike. But Prendergast acknowledged that the service could only cover a fraction of the roughly 285,000 rides taken on the LIRR each weekday.

"To say you cannot bus the Long Island Rail Road," he said, "is an understatement."

LIRR workers have been without a contract for over three years. The union wants a 17 percent raise over six years; the MTA is offering an 11 percent raise. The dispute is being mulled over by a panel of federally-appointed mediators, who will make a recommendation by mid-May.



Comments [5]


Yes tal I know it's the 21st century, but asking the scum at the LIRR unions to allow modern work rules is more than can be expected with Cuomo running things. Taking a few baby steps in that direction to reduce overstaffing and some of the more egregious penalty payments by bringing work rules into the 20th century would be progress however.

May. 03 2014 03:57 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

"Bring work rules to what would be appropriate for the mid 20th century instead of the 19th and there would be plenty of room for raises."

You do know that this is 21st century now, so work rules for that might seem a lot better especially if they are more to the present rather than the past.

May. 01 2014 03:09 PM
Emily Mann

shouldn't they be using MTA buses?

May. 01 2014 01:35 PM

Bring work rules to what would be appropriate for the mid 20th centuray instead of the 19th and there would be plenty of room for raises.

May. 01 2014 01:18 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

I don't see what is the issue of these transit workers asking for a contract renewal that allows for a living wage for themselves. Before anyone starts acting apathetic, keep in mind that they make a lot of sacrifices that so that the rest of you can have good rides on the LIRR. If anyone thinks that they can do the job better for less, then I suggest you all start applying yourselves otherwise quit complaining. Maybe then you will understand why the unions are acting the way they are unless they will strike.

Apr. 30 2014 08:02 PM

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