The Long Island Railroad workers could walk off the job and strand 300,000 commuters as early as July 20 if the unions and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority do not reach an agreement.
“We continue to hope that we can avoid a work stoppage at the bargaining table,” stated MTA Chair Tom Prendergast. “But nevertheless, we want LIRR customers and all Long Island residents to be aware that there is a potential for a disruption of service and what that might mean.”
In the meantime, the MTA has been working on a contingency plan and has recommends Long Island employees to work from home if possible.
- Work from home, or stay with friends and family in or near the City.
- Discuss telecommuting and/or flex time options with your employer.
- Connect with others willing to carpool.
- Use existing bus services provided by NICE, NYC Transit, and MTA Bus.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who helped subway and bus workers reach a deal with the MTA, has referred the authority to Congress for aid in reaching a settlement.
On Tuesday Prendergast wrote Congress a letter asking which of three options Congress thought was likely: to pass a resolution holding off the strike, allowing a strike and then ending it through some settlement, or allow a strike and take no action.
On Wednesday, Prendergast went to Washington D.C. for a meeting with federal lawmakers, who said MTA should not count on intervention from Congress to reach a settlement.
Cuomo then praised Congress for not intervening in a statement Wednesday.
“The unions’ false belief that Congress would step in to mandate a settlement was a major impediment to any real progress,” Cuomo stated. “This dispute must be handled amicably. A strike is just not an option and would be a terrible failure by both the unions and the MTA.”