LIRR Union Contract Negotiations Come to Standstill

By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times

Negotiations between the unions representing over 5,000 Long Island Railroad workers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority quickly ended Friday as an impending strike looms, to begin as early as July 20.

On Tuesday, MTA announced a 17 percent raise over seven years, soliciting a heated response from union representatives.

The unions had asked for 17 percent over six years and some were offended the MTA went public with the offer before their scheduled meeting, although MTA says the unions formally received the offer before it was announced Tuesday. Representatives have maintained the MTA negotiated in bad faith, ignoring recommendations from two presidential emergency boards and then moving away from their net-zero position.

Some of the unions did not attend Friday’s negotiations at all. 

“Unions made a counter offer to MTA and the MTA rejected our counter,” wrote Anthony Simon, representing the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), in an email. SMART was present at the negotiations in Midtown. The unions declined to release their proposal. 

According to MTA there was no change to the unions’ position on Friday, and they have not budged despite the MTA having revised its proposal three times since December now. 

“The unions came to today’s meeting, but clearly not to negotiate,” MTA stated. “We urge the union leadership to come back and settle this contract at the bargaining table.”