TIMELINE: LIRR Union Contract Negotiations

By Catherine Yang
Catherine Yang
Catherine Yang
July 16, 2014 Updated: July 16, 2014

LIRR contract expires

October 2013 
– First National Mediation Board 
No agreement reached; a 270-day countdown starts toward a strike.

December 2013 
– Presidential Emergency Board (PEB)
President Barack Obama signs an executive order to create a PEB to make recommendations on the dispute. The LIRR unions agree to the report, but the MTA does not and continues to push for net-zeros, or offsetting any raise with other savings. MTA CEO Tom Prendergast says the recommendations could result in fare hikes higher than planned. 

February 2014 
– Unions vote for strike
The Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union, the largest of the LIRR unions, votes 500–0 for a strike if a contract is not signed by March 21.

March 2014 
– Strike pushed back
Prendergast calls for a second PEB, pushing the earliest date for a strike back to July 20.

April 2014 
– Subway and bus workers reach deal with MTA
Gov. Andrew Cuomo steps in and helps the MTA and unions representing subway and bus workers reach a deal. The MTA makes a similar offer to LIRR unions, which is rejected.

May 2014 
– Second PEB result
Both the LIRR unions and the MTA submit proposals to the board, but the arbitration is non-binding. The PEB picks the unions’ offer over the MTA’s.

June 2014 
– MTA increases offer
The MTA presents its latest offer, which the unions again turn down.

July 2014 
– Second National Mediation Board
Cuomo says he will stay out of LIRR negotiations, and refers the groups to Congress. The unions and MTA agree to a mediation meeting July 8. At a meeting in Washington, federal lawmakers tell Prendergast not to expect federal intervention in the LIRR contract dispute. 

July 11 
– Contingency plan released
MTA releases its contingency plan in the event of a strike. With the availability of real time technology, officials hope the situation will be more manageable than the 1994 strike, but urge commuters to work from home or stay in the city if possible. 

July 14 
– Talks collapse
Prendergast walks out of negotiations and unions confirm a strike set for July 20. 

July 16 
– Back to the table
Cuomo steps in and the MTA asks unions to return to negotiations immediately.

July 20 
– Possible strike
If a contract is not signed by July 20, 2014, LIRR unions can legally strike.