Nassau County plans to offer free wireless Internet access and work cubicles in a 20,000-square-foot office in Bethpage’s industrial park if there is a Long Island Rail Road strike on July 20.
As of press time at 1 p.m. on Friday, there was still no deal between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the LIRR’s eight unions to avert a strike. The unions have worked without a contract since 2010.
County Executive Ed Mangano came to the office, on the third floor of the Morrelly Homeland Security Center, to announce the offer on Friday morning. To make the space available, the county is partnering with the nonprofit Long Island Forum for Technology and the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security, which owns the 90,000-square-foot Morrelly center. The structure’s first floor is rented by the county’s Office of Emergency Management and served as OEM’s command center during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“A LIRR strike will be disastrous, as it will cause severe disruption for residents seeking to commute to their jobs,” Mangano said. “For residents unable to work from home in the event of a LIRR strike, the Morrelly Homeland Security Center is a great option for telecommuting.”
The office was formerly rented by Grumman until recently, but is vacant after the company moved staff out of state. Mangano said the Morrelly center, at 510 Grumman Road West, would be a good option for staffs that want to gather in an office, rather than at colleagues' homes. It also would provide a quiet work space in a professional setting.
The office has 100 desks and a large theater, and can fit roughly 200 commuters. To reserve a space, call (516) 573-9792 weekdays from 9 to 5 p.m. Spaces are being offered to Nassau County residents on a first-come, first-served basis.
Barry Shorten, LIFT’s co-chairman, said, “LIFT and the Applied Science Foundation are pleased to make our facilities available as a resource for the county.”
The MTA has secured agreements with 1,400 New York City companies to allow some 18,000 employees to telecommute during a strike.
Mangano added that the county is working with New York City to adjust traffic lights on Merrick Road and Sunrise Highway so that green lights would last longer, enabling east-west traffic to move more smoothly if there were a strike.