Union Strike Threat Based on Unfair Demands

June 16, 2014

Seven Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) unions are threatening to strike until they receive higher pay, writes Nicole Gelinas, contributing editor for the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.

Despite the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) offer to raise the wages of Long Island's rail road workers by 11 percent (similar to the wage increase granted to the subway and bus union), in addition to raising the retirement age and doubling new workers' pension contributions, the LIRR unions are insisting upon a 17 percent raise.

LIRR workers already earn relatively high wages:

  • The union employees make an average $83,794 annually, in addition to pension and health benefits.
  • On average, LIRR workers make more than workers at any other MTA division, earning 17.6 percent more annually than subway and bus workers.
  • Twenty-eight percent of LIRR workers made above $100,000 last year, not including pension benefits.

Gelinas urges New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to stand up against the unions. Working New Yorkers -- who pay LIRR salaries and benefits -- depend upon the railroad to get to work.

If LIRR wanted to, it could replace train service with bus service into New York. The railroad has already started to make plans to do so. Such a move would be easier in the summertime, during which there are fewer commuters. Not incidentally, the LIRR unions have said that they may delay their strike planned for July until September. 

Source: Nicole Gelinas, "Millionaires on Strike? The Unfair Demands of LIRR Unions," New York Post, June 8, 2014.

 

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