UPDATE: The strike has been called off after an agreement was made between the LIRR unions and the MTA.
On Sunday at 12:01AM, LIRR workers have vowed to strike if the MTA management doesn’t offer them a contract, potentially affecting over 300,000 commuters and the local economy. The state comptroller estimates a loss of about $450 million a day to the region reports ABC News. Earlier in the week, a strike seemed all but certain like it was 1994 again. Just yesterday, the MTA pissed off the unions with an ad campaign that stated: “They make almost $90,000 a year, get free healthcare and generous pensions. The MTA offered to up their salary 17 percent.” United Transportation Union President Anthony Simon responded that the “ad campaign that the MTA launched was an absolute disgrace.”
Despite the back-and-forth rhetoric, both sides agreed to keep talking last night and may be close to coming to an agreement. LIRR unions haven’t had a contract for the last four years, and say the MTA is unwilling to meet their demands for pay raises. According to the Daily News, “two emergency boards appointed by President Obama sided with the unions and recommended 17% raises over six years with workers contributing up to 2.25% of base pay for healthcare.” The MTA’s counter-offer did not appeal to railroad workers. The LIRR unions and MTA management will sit down together at 10AM this morning to resume negotiations.