Negotiations between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road unions to avoid a labor strike later this month ended early on Feb. 27 with no resolution, but with new proposals from both sides.
MTA officials and LIRR unions workers are now anticipating a second Presidential Emergency Board to hold another hearing this spring, in which mediators appointed by President Barack Obama will again review offers from both sides and provide recommendations for wage concessions.
If no resolution is reached, LIRR workers could legally walk off the job on July 19 and potentially strand daily commuters.
The National Mediation Board — an agency formed under the Federal Railway Act to help resolve labor disputes — invited the unions and the MTA to meet in Washington, D.C. Thursday for the first time since the first presidential board made its ruling in December.
At last year’s hearing, the MTA rejected the board’s recommendations for a 2.83 percent raise over six years and new health care contributions from LIRR workers. MTA officials have said the raises would call for steep fare hikes or more health care contributions from LIRR workers.
MTA officials brought a new proposal, through the National Mediation Board, under which the agency would accept the presidential board’s recommendations, with some changes.
Anthony Simon, general chairman of the Sheet Metal, Rail, Air and Transportation Union, said the unions would not agree to those changes but sent the mediators back to the MTA with other proposed concessions.
Though, according to MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg, union representatives left the negotiations early Thursday before reaching a consensus with MTA officials.
“After the LIRR negotiators left the proceedings with no indication that they would ever return, the MTA’s negotiators returned to New York,” Lisberg added.