Tentative agreement reached to avoid LIRR strike - New York News

Tentative agreement reached to avoid LIRR strike

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Long Island Rail Road workers were breathing a sigh of relief on Friday as a strike by LIRR workers was averted. 

Union negotiators and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reached a tentative contract agreement a day earlier. 

As many 300,000 commuters would have needed to find alternate transportation had a strike occurred.

Just after 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, the union posted the following message on their strike website: "STRIKE AVERTED!

TENTATIVE DEAL REACHED, MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW"

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed the agreement at a news conference on Thursday afternoon. 

“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,” Governor 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 two sides met again on Thursday morning and hammered out an agreement.

The unions had threatened to strike at 12:01 a.m. Sunday if they did not get a deal.

Workers have been without a contract since 2010. President Barack Obama appointed two emergency boards to help resolve the dispute, but the MTA rejected both nonbinding recommendations. The emergency board's last proposal called for a 17 percent raise over six years while leaving work rules and pensions alone.

The MTA offered a 17 percent wage increase over seven years, but also requiring future employees to shoulder more costs.  Details of the tentative agreement were not immediately available.

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