(Update) LIRR, MTA pause negotiations without resolution 3 days before strike

lirr strike mta long island
Representatives for the labor group and the transit authority met yet again in Midtown on Wednesday after Cuomo rang up both sides and public released a statement asking them to avoid holding Long Islanders “hostage by a strike.”
Credit: Aaron Adler/Metro

After some soft intervention from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, leaders from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a coalition of Long Island Rail Road unions met for about five hours Wednesday after talks broke down earlier this week.

Representatives for the labor group and the transit authority held another morning meeting in Midtown after Cuomo rang up both sides and public released a statement asking them to avoid holding Long Islanders “hostage by a strike.”

“Both the MTA and the LIRR unions need to put the interests of New Yorkers first by returning to the table today and working continuously to avoid a strike,” Cuomo wrote.

The governor struck a different tone from his statements on Tuesday, when he told reporters at an unrelated event that a strike would be “is not a disaster — a real pain, maybe, but not a disaster.”

Moments before stepping into the talks, labor spokesman Anthony Simon said he was prepared for the unfortunate but was stepping into the room with an open mind.

“If the offer is an offer that we can discuss, that will move the ball forward,” he told reporters before the meeting.

The most recent deal laid out by the MTA would offer a 17 percent salary bump over seven years — the unions want it over six. Both are reportedly have agreed to current employees contributing 2 percent of their salaries to health care.

A previous sticking point that might still be relevant to both sides is how much new employees would have to contribute to their pensions, as well as their having to contribute as much as 4 percent to their health care costs and put in more years before they’re eligible for top pay.

Just before the walking into the meeting, Simon also released an aggressively worded statement blaming the MTA for “irresponsible actions” that “will cause a strike.” The unions continue to pressure management to adopt an offer laid out by two presidential emergency boards.

Simon said the MTA had rebuffed every compromise offered by the coalition and has been “wasting precious dollars” on two advertising campaigns to make their own case.

However, about five hours after walking into the talks, Simon told reporters that they had made progress on Wednesday.

Representatives from both sides said they plan to meet again on Thursday at 10 a.m. If no agreement is reached, the approximately 5,400 LIRR workers can still strike after the Saturday night deadline.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria


Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.


FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.


Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…


Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…


Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.


Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.


Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…


Ariana Grande addresses Big Sean dating rumors

Now that Ariana Grande and Big Sean were caught on camera holding hands, she has something to say.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.


Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.


MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb


Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.


Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…


Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.


Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…