With just a few days left before a potentially crippling strike, East End officials are calling on Long Island Rail Road unions and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reach an agreement.
LIRR unions have been working without a contract since 2010.
Representatives Steve Israel, Pete King and Tim Bishop released a joint statement on Tuesday, June 15, pleading with the parties to avoid a strike.
In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed two mediation boards to assess the situation—both of which recommended the 17-percent raises over six years that the unions are asking for. MTA has offered a 17-percent raise over seven years, but would require railroad workers to contribute at least 2 percent of their salaries to their own health care costs.
East Hampton and Southampton Town Supervisors, Larry Cantwell and Anna Throne-Holst issued a joint statement on Monday, urging the LIRR and the public to make contingency plans.
“July is the height of the summer season and a crucial time for the area’s economy. Local businesses cannot afford the loss of thousands of patrons – which is what a LIRR strike would mean. The Towns of Southampton and East Hampton are taking the steps necessary to suspend certain municipal parking restrictions in order to allow motor coach companies to utilize LIRR parking lots as pick-up and drop-off locations,” the statement read.
An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people travel to the East End by train during weekends in the summer season. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement the strike can begin as early as 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 20.