Governor Andrew Cuomo predictably stepped into negotiations Thursday night between union leadership and the MTA, just three days before a planned work-stoppage of more than 5,400 workers and service on the Long Island Railroad. The union had worked without a new contract for four years before the agreement was reached.
“This is a compromise by both parties after four long years,” said Cuomo, while sandwiched between MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast, and United Transportation Union President Anthony Simon. “It means that we reached and agreement and we can both move forward.”
The union members will see a 17-percent wage increase over 6 and a half years, but will also see healthcare costs come out of their paychecks for the first time.
Full press release is on the next page.
Governor Cuomo Announces Labor Agreement Between Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road Unions
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast, and United Transportation Union President Anthony Simon, representing a coalition of eight Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) labor unions, today announced an agreement 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,” 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 agreement we reached today with the assistance of Governor 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,” MTA Chairman Thomas F. 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. I want to express my thanks to all the LIRR employees who continued to provide safe and reliable service through these discussions, and to our customers who can now be assured of uninterrupted service.”
“Today’s agreement provides a fair and equitable contract for our existing and future employees and we couldn’t have gotten it done without the Governor’s help,” United Transportation Union President Anthony Simon said. “Our workers move hundreds of thousands of commuters a day and their services are integral to the New York economy. On behalf of 5,400 hardworking union members involved in these negotiations, I thank the Governor for his efforts, and the MTA for coming to a compromise.”
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.
The tentative agreement is subject to approval by the eight Long Island Rail Road unions’ executive boards and ratification by their membership, and subsequent approval by the MTA Board.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 18, 2014