Officials worry time is running out
4:29 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Cuomo urged to stop LIRR strike

LIRR trains idle in the yard during the 1994 strike. Officials are worried another strike could leave 300,000 commuters stranded.
LIRR trains idle in the yard during the 1994 strike. Officials are worried another strike could leave 300,000 commuters stranded.
Credit AP Photo/Richard Drew

Worried time is running out, several Long Island State Senators are urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to intercede in the stalled contract negotiations between the MTA and Long Island Rail Road workers.

Technically there is no deadline. LIRR workers are legally allowed to strike beginning Sunday, July 20th. However, they previously offered to push that date back to the end of summer where a strike would have more impact. There would be fewer people on vacation, college students would be back on the train, and it's the eve of November's gubernatorial election.

But Republican Senator Carl Marcellino wants Cuomo to step in now.

"I've talked to the union head, he has no objections to what we are doing. He feels it would be a good thing if the governor stepped in as well."

Marcellino adds that solving the standoff wouldn't hurt Cuomo's image either.

Cuomo has worked hard recently to shore up his support with labor unions and more liberal Democrats.

Cuomo also has precedent for brokering contract disputes. He took credit for bringing together the MTA and TWU Local 100 in April. In that deal the MTA ended up giving workers most of what they demanded.

The current MTA offer includes a 17 percent raise spread over seven years. However, workers want the raise over six years. The MTA wants the unions to contribute more to the cost of health insurance and they want to make new hires work longer before getting a full pension.

The unions say that offer was worth only half of what they want.

They were back at the negotiating table Wednesday.