Thursday, July 17, 2014

LIRR strike averted as deal is struck

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday, July 17, 2014, that an anticipated strike by Long Island Rail Road workers, due to begin Sunday, July 20, has been averted.

Cuomo, claiming he had been participating directly in negotiations as of July 16, said an agreement, deemed "a compromise by both parties," had been reached.

Under the deal, workers would receive 17% raises over a six-and-a-half-year period. Other aspects of the agreement were not immediately clarified. A major sticking point separating labor and management was whether workers should contribute to their own health care plans.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast, who has aggressively and publicly questioned labor's sincerity to negotiate, said Thursday that the contract was "fair and reasonable." He also said the contract would "put no additional pressure" on fares, a danger MTA management had cited repeatedly in recent weeks.

Joseph Nigro, general president of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers, said in a statement that the union had “finally attained a hard earned and fair contract that will avoid a disaster for workers and communities on Long Island.”

The Long Island Rail Road in 2013 regained its traditional role as the nation's largest regional passenger railroad, retaking the honor from sister entity Metro-North Railroad.