Friday, July 18, 2014

Agreement means no strike at LIRR

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast and United Transportation Union (UTU) President Anthony Simon, representing a coalition of eight Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) labor unions, have agreed to settle a four-year-old contract dispute between the MTA and the unions.

The agreement provides the 17 percent wage increase recommended by the Presidential Emergency Board and includes the first-ever healthcare contributions from the 5,400 workers that make up the eight unions while protecting commuters and the MTA's long-term financial stability.

"The Long Island Rail Road is a critical artery in connecting the downstate region and the men and women who keep it running play a vital role in the lives of our commuters and in the communities that the LIRR serves," Gov. Cuomo said. "Resolving this contract dispute is the right thing to do and the agreement we have reached today is fair to all parties. It recognizes the many contributions of the LIRR's hardworking employees, while also maintaining the fiscal integrity of the MTA. I thank everyone involved in these negotiations, especially UTU Chairman Anthony Simon and MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast, whose collective dedication to the needs of LIRR commuters made this agreement possible."

"The agreement we reached today with the assistance of Gov. Cuomo is just what he advocated – a fair and reasonable contract that will enable the nation's busiest commuter railroad to continue to serve the people of Long Island," Prendergast said. "Both sides have compromised to reach an agreement that gives our employees the raises they deserve while also providing for the MTA's long-term financial stability."

Simon said, "Our workers move hundreds of thousands of commuters a day and their services are integral to the New York economy."

Under the terms of the agreement, based on the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board, existing LIRR employees will receive 17 percent raises over a term of 6-1/2 years. To ensure the long-term affordability of these wage increases, all employees will for the first time contribute to their health insurance costs and new employees will have different wage progressions and pension plan contributions.

The contract will have no impact on MTA fares and will be accommodated within revisions to the MTA financial plan.

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