Possible LIRR strike nears as MTA and Unions continue contract deadlock


There are six weeks remaining in the current LIRR contract deadline before railroad laborers may go on strike. According to officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the LIRR unions, the two parties made no plans to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement after a Presidential Emergency board, which was appointed in March, issued their final report about the labor dispute two weeks ago.

On May 20, the LIRR union’s chief negotiator announced that he wanted to make a deal with the MTA that would defer a July strike until after Labor Day. But union leaders have applied for picketing permits in several Long Island districts, and have notified law enforcement in Nassau, Suffolk, Jamaica, Brooklyn and Manhattan to establish a crowd-control unit for expected picketers on July 20.

The MTA and the LIRR unions intended to return to the bargaining table after the presidential board recommended a 17 percent raise over six-years for LIRR workers, which would have left their pensions and work rules unchanged. The MTA rejected the proposal, instead offering a deal that was similar to one accepted by the Transport Workers Union Local 100 in late May – an 11 percent raise with considerable pension reforms and wage structures over the same period. In a statement, the MTA called their proposed wage a “fair and reasonable offer.”