Stay at the table and work this out

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The workers have been without a contract since 2010, and want the 17 percent raise over six years and no other changes. Two boards appointed by President Obama have sided with the unions’ position.

Courts have interpreted the Railway Labor Act as permitting the unions to strike once all of the RLA’s procedures have been followed without a settlement. The act, courts have said, would also permit management to lock workers out or hire replacements for all or some of those who would leave their jobs. Neither of these options is in the best interests of Long Island’s residents or business owners — or those in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan who depend on the enormous daily flow of commuters.

We think, for now at least, that Cuomo and Congress are right to stay out of the negotiations, forcing both sides to forge a contract. The further the politicians are from the negotiating table, the better the chances workers and management have of resolving the outstanding issues and averting a transportation nightmare.

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