Pressure builds for MTA, LIRR reps to meet again

Posted: 8:01 PM, Jul 15, 2014
Updated: 2014-07-15 20:01:03-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) -- Pressure is building on the MTA and LIRR labor representatives to meet again.

Anthony Simon, the LIRR union leader says if the MTA doesn't check in with labor representatives it's "100 percent certain there will be a strike."

There were no formal talks on Tuesday. Both sides talked to reporters, but not to each other.

On Monday the MTA left a negotiation session and said the union’s counter offer was not “substantive” enough.

The Governor addressed the situation at an event upstate. He described the events as "major negotiation" between the MTA and union.  But he did not say he was going to get involved.

“We’ve had strikes before, and we’ve survived,” Cuomo said. “And we’ve had disasters. And we know what that’s like. Hurricane Sandy was a disaster, and we’ve gone through other disasters. This is not a disaster. A real pain, maybe, but not a disaster.”

“It often gets pushed to the brink, and this is a major negotiation,” Cuomo said. “The LIRR is vital to Long Islanders. Long Island households do not have any additional funds to pay for increases in fares . The MTA is saying we want to hold the line on fares, and we need to run the railroad. So we’re working within a budget and the union is saying they want additional funds.”

The MTA released an ad set to appear in the morning papers on Wednesday.  The advertisements detail the MTA’s current offer of 17 percent to union employees.

“Unionized Long Island Rail Road workers are the best paid in the nation. They make almost $90,000 a year, get free health care and generous pensions. The MTA offered to up their salary 17% without raising fares or delaying service improvements, by making modest changes for workers who haven’t even been hired yet. Current employees would get everything they asked for. Yet the unions are still threatening to strike. When is enough enough?”

Leaders of eight LIRR unions are legally allowed under the Federal Railway Labor Act to walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 20.

The Labor leaders say the MTA's offer asks too much of new hires. They call on the MTA to present a counter offer.