International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Long Island Rail Road General Chairperson Anthony Simon has issued the following statement on the deteriorating labor situation at the commuter railroad:
“I regret to report that negotiations have collapsed with New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority 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 two 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.
“Make no mistake about it. The timing of this strike, with its devastating impact on Long Island’s summer season, is MTA’s decision. The unions repeated our offer to agree to the requests of the New York Congressional delegation, area residents and businesses to delay the strike until September. MTA would not agree.
“The onus of this deadlock is solely on MTA. Two boards of renowned and experienced arbitrators have recommended a fair compromise settlement. We are willing to accept the recommendations. MTA is not. MTA admitted to us that they know that historically, the PEB recommendations are the basis for settlement. They told us they understand that the only way they can break this historical precedent is to take a strike. That is the course that they have chosen.”
Anthony Simon, SMART LIRR GO 505 General Chairperson and Union Coalition spokesperson