The Metro Transit Authority of New York (MTA) is preparing for what now seems to be an inevitable labor strike by employees of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). If the strike moves forward, elected officials predict that 300,000 daily commuters will be adversely affected. Thus far, the MTA has offered carpooling incentives and shuttle bus services at six of the LIRR’s 122 stations. Ominously, the MTA’s current message to possibly-stranded commuters is to “stay home.”
“It would be slow. It would be crowded. It would at least double your commute time,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said. “This is a last resort. By no means should anybody portray this as a substitute for the Long Island Rail Road.”
As of now, only six weeks remain on the current collective bargaining agreement between the union and management officials. While no new talks have been scheduled, the union’s chief negotiator has stated his desire to postpone any possible strike action until after Labor Day. However, LIRR riders can expect picket lines, as the union has already applied for picketing permits.
If last year’s BART strike in California is anything to go by, a strike by LIRR employees will cause commuters massive headaches. Moreover, a strike would likely have a major negative impact on local merchants, who depend on LIRR riders as customers. We will keep you posted here @LRToday as the strike deadlines creeps closer.