Workers on the Long Island Rail Road say they have been forced to set a strike date by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s refusal to bargain. Two Presidential Emergency Boards have sided with the workers, and the union asked the MTA to extend a cooling-off period so that a strike wouldn’t hit Long Island during its peak tourist season. However, the MTA is refusing that offer, saying it would hit schoolchildren instead of tourists.
Anthony Simon, the general chair for the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transport Workers local, said in a statement:
“I regret to report that negotiations have collapsed with New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and all eight unions are now proceeding with strike plans for July 20. MTA rejected the counter offer we presented last Thursday (July 10). It presented no counter proposal. It continues to insist that the unions agree to a contract worth less than the value of the compromise recommendations of Presidential Emergency Boards 244 and 245. MTA has clearly decided that provoking a strike is the course of action it intends to pursue. No further negotiations are scheduled.The strike will begin at 12:01 a.m. this Sunday (July 20). Riders should be aware that service will begin winding down well before then, perhaps as early as Wednesday (July 16), as the railroad needs to secure its equipment. The strike will be limited to Long Island Rail Road. It will not affect Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Metro-North Railroad or PATH rail operations. Joint entrances will not be picketed.
A key question is whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will intervene.
Laura Clawson reports on labor and other issues for Daily Kos