Sunday, December 21, 2014

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LIRR Commuters React to Possible Strike

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TWC News: LIRR Commuters React to Possible Strike
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After talks broke down Monday between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and union representatives for workers on the Long Island Rail Road, commuters considered how a probable strike would affect their ability to get to work. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Two-hundred and eighty-five thousand people, on average each day, ride the Long Island Rail Road.

All commuters we spoke with worry.

"I think it's pretty crazy," said one rider.

"Yeah, not happy about it," another said.

Debbie wasik is angry too.

"Depressed," Wasik says.

The single mother commutes from Long Island to her job as an administrative assistant in a Queens adult learning center.

"If they go on strike, I'm going to be out of work and I'm going to lose a lot of money," Wasik says.

That's because her company's contingency plan is to hire temporary replacements.

"It's gonna be tough. I can't afford it," Wasik says.

Others worry losing train service will force them to lose their job completely.

"It's preventing people to go to work. I just got a job, I'm new on the job. I might get fired if I can't make it, you know?" said another rider.

Many say they're planning to drive or car pool if there's a strike but they know tens of thousand of additional vehicles will put the brakes on that plan.

As for sympathy, it falls on both sides of the tracks.

"The MTA has been limited on what they've been paying their employees for a long time,"
one rider says.

"I feel that these guys are a little too overpaid and don't do enough," another said.

"I'm a union guy, myself, and I completely sympathize with these people, but it absolutely sucks that these pet people can't reach an agreement," another rider says.

The mayor talked about how some people can stay home and work from home.

Many say that's just not the case—their job requires their physical presence at work. At best, they say a strike will reduce their productivity.

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