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People board a Long Island Rail Road train at Pennsylvania Station in New York July 14, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton  People board a Long Island Rail Road train at Pennsylvania Station in New York July 14, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton   

NY Transportation Unions Prepare To Strike After Negotiations Derail

New York transportation unions announced plans Tuesday to strike after their negotiations with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) failed.

United Transportation Union President Anthony Simon said in a statement after the negotiations fell apart, “I regret to report that negotiations have collapsed with New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and all eight unions are now proceeding with strike plans.”

The statement goes onto explain, “MTA rejected the counter offer we presented last Thursday (July 10). It presented no counter proposal. It continues to insist that the unions agree to a contract worth less than the value of the compromise recommendations of two Presidential Emergency Boards.”

Simons reassures New Yorkers that “the strike will be limited to Long Island Rail Road. It will not affect Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Metro-North Railroad or PATH rail operations. Joint entrances will not be picketed.”

However, the unions conceded there will be still a significant impact from this strike: “the timing of this strike, with its devastating impact on Long Island’s summer season, is MTA’s decision. The unions repeated our offer to agree to the requests of the New York Congressional delegation, area residents and businesses to delay the strike until September. MTA would not agree.”

In response to the breakdown in negotiations, the MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast relayed a different perspective on what is to blame for the strike.

Prendergast said in a speech that the MTA tried “responding to what the union’s primary concerns were. Which were a 17 percent pay raise over six years” along with “paying for some of their health care cost.”

Talks broke down over these questions, Prendergast claimed.

MTA’s idea was to get potential new employees to contribute more, a method Prendergast explains has been used quite frequently by other unions.

“What became clear in their counteroffer was they really weren’t willing to go to those perspective new employees,” Prendergast contends.

No further negotiations have been scheduled and the strike is expected to begin at midnight on Sunday.

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