MTA seeks second presidential mediation as LIRR strike looms; strike possible in July

The MTA and its workers' unions have agreed to sit down for talks with the National Mediation Board in Washington next week.

The MTA and its workers' unions have agreed to sit down for talks with the National Mediation Board in Washington next week. (2/21/14)

BROOKLYN - The MTA says it will ask for a second negotiating session with presidential mediators as a possible Long Island Rail Road strike looms.

The MTA recently shot down a 2.8 percent raise for LIRR workers, which had been recommended by mediators from a Presidential Emergency Board. LIRR unions were prepared to strike next month.

 The MTA says raises would be possible if the unions agree to concessions in work and staffing rules. Without those concessions, the MTA says meeting the demands would mean a 12 percent fare hike and possible service cuts.

 “If you could reform these work rules and spread the savings around among all of our employees, there is a pot of money for everyone to get their raises,” says MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg.

Union officials say a fare increase would not be necessary and that the MTA has the funds now for the raises.

“Based on where we are today, if a strike occurs, it’s the sole result of the MTA,” says Anthony Simon, of the United Transportation Union.

If no settlement is reached, a strike could happen in July.

For the complete LIRR labor coalition news conference, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.

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