LIRR Unions have threatened to go on strike as early as March 21st, due to the MTA’s failure to accept a compromise proposal crafted by an independent panel of federal mediators. Union leaders say they accept the proposal.
The mediators’ recommendations include annual raises averaging 2.8% between June 2010 and June 2015 as well as worker contributions to health-care premiums, starting at 1% of base pay and growing to 2.25%. The MTA’s demands include that workers pay 12% of health care premiums. If the MTA or Gov. Cuomo doesn’t ask the Obama administration for a 2nd emergency mediation panel, thousands of LIRR employees can legally strike March 21st.
“We don’t want to strike, but we’re ready to go,” said Anthony Simon, general chairman of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union. SMART is the largest among a coalition of LIRR labor unions that haven’t had a contract for 3 1/2 years.
The LIRR serves an average of 285,000 weekday riders, who could face troubles if a compromise is not reached soon.