Tags: US | New | York | Rail | Dispute

Strike by NY Commuter Rail Workers Averted

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 03:55 PM

 

Unions and managers of the nation's largest commuter railroad on Thursday reached a tentative contract agreement, averting a weekend strike that stood to inconvenience hundreds of thousands of riders.

Eight unions representing 5,400 Long Island Rail Road workers had threatened to walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. Sunday unless an agreement was reached. The workers had been seeking a new deal since 2010.

Officials said the agreement will not require an increase in fares.

The tentative deal, which still must be approved by the unions' membership, would give employees 17 percent raises over 6 1/2 years. For the first time, all employees would contribute to their health insurance costs, and new employees would work under different wages and pension provisions. Union negotiators had previously balked at different provisions for new workers.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas Prendergast said the deal provides a "fair and reasonable contract" that protects commuters and the fiscal health of the MTA.

Chief union negotiator Anthony Simon said his membership was reluctant to strike, but a tough stance was necessary in order to get an agreement.

"This was definitely about the riders," Simon said. "We cared about the financial stability of the railroad as well as the members and their financial stability."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who personally guided the negotiations in the closing hours, announced the deal at a news conference.

Officials in New York City and Long Island had predicted dire consequences if workers walked off the job. Approximately 300,000 riders use the railroad daily.

"All riders feel relief at the announcement of this settlement" said Mark Epstein, chairman of an advocacy group for commuters. "We are encouraged by Gov. Cuomo's assurances on fares and the MTA's ability to fund its capital program and look forward to reviewing additional details on the settlement and the way in which it will be funded."

Earlier this week it appeared a strike was likely when union negotiators and MTA officials said that they had reached an impasse. Commuters fretted over contingency plans that would have had many riding school buses from LIRR stations to subway stops in New York City, or spending hours on clogged New York area roadways.

Cuomo, a Democrat who is running for re-election, jump-started the talks on Wednesday when he appealed to both sides to resume negotiating. The governor held discussions with the sides later that day and on Thursday morning summoned them to his office.

"There was a high degree of agita," Cuomo said of the angst commuters and others shared over the prospect of a walkout. "The good news is there could have been a lot more agita next week if there had been a strike."

The state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, had estimated a strike would be a "devastating blow" to a region that is still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy and the recession. He estimated economic losses of $50 million a day.


© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

East Coast on Alert for Blizzards as Storm System Approaches

Sunday, 25 Jan 2015 12:53 PM

A winter storm expected to dump hefty amounts of snow bore down on a wide swath of the U.S. East Coast on Sunday, prompt . . .

Contestants Vie for Miss Universe Crown in Miami on Sunday

Sunday, 25 Jan 2015 11:04 AM

A new Miss Universe will be crowned Sunday night in Miami, with participants from 88 countries taking part.The contestan . . .

'American Sniper' Continues Surge With $64.4 Million

Sunday, 25 Jan 2015 11:01 AM

Clint Eastwood's American Sniper continued its box office dominance this weekend, picking up $64.4 million and steamro . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved