Sunday, December 21, 2014

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The Call Blog: LIRR Strike Averted; Unions Agree To Health Insurance Contributions

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Have something to tell us at The Call? Drop us a line at and we'll post it to our blog.

I agree with many of our callers who said that union members should have to pay for health benefits and pensions, especially with current rising healthcare costs in the country. One viewer said that municipal workers should not feel so entitled and that "it's not like they volunteered for the jobs".

Your thoughts and comments are posted below.

Some 300,000 daily Long Island Rail Road commuters breathed a collective sigh of relief this afternoon after learning railroad workers will not be going on strike this weekend. Governor Cuomo, who is running for re-election this fall, announced MTA officials and union negotiators reached an agreement to settle a four-year-old contract dispute.

The deal calls for a 17 percent wage increase over six-and-a-half years. But it also requires workers to contribute an undisclosed amount to their health care costs for the very first time. In addition, new hires will have different wage scales and pension plan contributions. The agreement, which needs to be ratified by 5,400 workers in eight different unions, will not result in a fare hike.

Are you surprised to learn LIRR union negotiators agreed to health care contributions for this contract? Should all labor groups do the same? Is a 17 percent wage increase over almost seven years a good deal for workers? Are you praising Governor Cuomo for getting involved in negotiations, or do you think he did so because it's an election year?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

I totally agree that railroad workers pay some portion to cover their health care costs, given the economic reality of our times this was the only way fair way to avoid the catastrophic effects a long drawn out strike would have caused.

Bay Ridge

I'm happy for the riders because I have been in that situation myself years back and it's very inconvenient whether it be blackouts , strikes or what have you. At least they have a job and whenever I hear the complaining about how they can't afford the pensions and or the increase in pay every administrations have promised amenities to all voters that end up being their constituents. These politicians are spending out of control continuously but as long as they have their moment to promise and deliver which eventually is at our expense and so I am glad that it is over for now. I firmly believe that Cuomo stepped in at the right time for his benefit and it seems as though he thinks that he is the one that resolved it. Not so=not in my book !! I'm also happy and not surprised that the health care was resolved in this contract and if they wish to make changes they should start with the new employees, That's the time to make your adjustments. But we can not continue to reprimand the current employees and make it seem that they are or will eventually be responsible for the city or what have you to be going broke and yet they just give away the store for any and all excuses and not for reasons. We are overtaxed and we continue to pay the bill and the well has run dry. TO MANY FREE BEES !!!

Morris Park

For workers who get paid tens of thousands of dollars for walking through railroad passenger cars and punching holes in paper, this is a great deal. For riders who have to pay these salaries, their pockets are picked by yet another government operation.

Port Richmond

This was all a game. I worked on bargaining at my company - what's being said and what's actually being discussed are two different things.

Midtown East

The LIRR strike settlement today won't prevent another walk-out in the future. Why Because it allows the unions to continue their coverage under the Federal Railway Act, rather than comply with N.Y. State laws that cover all other MTA workers, including the Taylor Act, which forbids strikes. LIRR Unions can stage a walk-out in 4 years.


i guess it's fine and dandy to ask subway workers who work in a health nightmare to pay for health costs. kind of an oxymoron demand!


Lee needs a reality check. I am in private industry and have been paying hundreds a month for health insurance for 20 yrs. I haven't gotten a raise in over 5 yrs either. These LIRR WORKERS make an average of $87,000. I also don't make that kind of money. How lucky to be union person. I need that job.

Bay Ridge

No I don't think a 17 percent wage increase is fair because there is a lot of people who are trying to make money and work and yeah I don't think its fair.

Dongan Hills

Curtis is correct. And city employees make alot less that private sector workers.

midtown east

guess what America? we ALL have to start paying for our own health care or we are going to go down this path to bankruptcy. it's not the old days anymore. i am sick of public employees being so damn ENTITLED about this and out of touch with REALITY!
and i am pro union, but that attitude is way out of sych with our current reality and what folks in the private sector all have to do. Really - these people are lucky they have a union!!!

Kew Gardens

It seems to me that the raise they get every year will be offset by their medical insurance contribution. I don't know why they would settle for that.


This deal shows what NYC civilian unions cd have gotten for their members if they had been willing to make some concessions like paying a small percentage for health care. I'd be thrilled to get 17% over 6.5 yrs. rather than a mere 7% over 7yrs.

Greenwich Village

It's amazing that all these years so many unions have been spared paying even a minimal percentage towards their health insurance.


Im a 1199 member and I dont pay for healthcare. The 17% raise that they are getting is nothing while paying into healthcare. The monies are there to help. People are selfish and since they have pay they dont want anyone else not to pay. Selfish NY im ashamed but this is a said reality.

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