Commuter trains are commonly used in major American cities, but probably nowhere are they more essential to moving large numbers of workers and employees to and from their workplaces as in New York City. Commuter trains are both economical and essential for anyone who wants to avoid the hassles of driving in a crowded city. So when a potential strike looms because a rail line’s management and the union workers who run the railway cannot reach agreement, commuters become extremely anxious.
Fortunately, the four-year-long contract dispute between Long Island Rail Road employees and the line’s management recently came to an end when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo got involved with the negotiations at the last minute so the parties could find a compromise and reach a temporary contract agreement. The tentative contract provides workers with a 17-percent salary increase for the next six-and-a-half years. For the first time ever, however, they will be required to contribute to their health-care coverage.
The governor expressed satisfaction that the workers will be getting a well-deserved raise and that commuters will not be subjected to a prolonged strike or fare hike. The long-term financial standing of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was also salvaged by the deal. More than 5,000 railroad employees threatened to walk out of their jobs after they repeatedly failed to get a deal from management. Some 300,000 daily commuters would have been stranded or forced to find other transportation. New York City also would have lost some $50 million each day during a strike.
In contract talks and other employment disputes, good negotiations are crucial in reaching compromise. If not, employees can be left choosing between not receiving any benefits or going out on strike. An employment law professional can help ensure that negotiations move along and address the best interests of both parties.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Strike by NY commuter rail workers averted,” Frank Eltman and Rachelle Blindner, July 17, 2014