LIRR laborers have also garnered support from subway and bus unions, as expressed by John Samuelson, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, who wrote in a letter to union members last week that they would back a strike of LIRR workers.
“This will not only include the establishment and manning of picket lines, but every other lawful means at our disposal,” Samuelson wrote. “If and when strike action occurs, we must view supporting those workers as the defense of our own livelihoods: because that is exactly what it is.”
Simon, who wrote a letter to the MTA’s labor director, Anita Miller, on Feb. 4 asking to schedule new negotiations, said the unions are willing to negotiate with the MTA to reach a new agreement or request the appointment of a second Presidential Emergency Board by late March, which would put off a strike until July.
MTA officials said they have not yet decided whether to make a request for a second board, and that they will wait 60 days before pursuing action to mitigate plans for a labor strike. “We agree that our employees deserve raises, but believe this is best accomplished through common sense changes to work rules and reasonable health care contributions that can generate savings for raises without forcing our customers to pay higher fares,” MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels wrote in an official statement. “We look forward to future discussions with our labor partners in which every issue under consideration is on the table for negotiation.”
Daniels — who noted that the contract granted for PBA workers is in fact a “net zero” contract, complete with changes in work rules and contributions for health benefits — said that the Presidential Emergency Board’s recommendations could not serve as a template for productive negotiations, since they did not take the MTA or its customers’ financial conditions into consideration.