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Another Presidential Emergency Board Called To Help Avert LIRR Strike

LIRR trains (CBS 2)

LIRR trains (CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama has appointed a second Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve a labor dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and some of its employees.

The announcement Thursday means a strike that could have come as early as Friday would be put off until July at the earliest. But board’s recommendations are non-binding.

“I appreciate that these dedicated individuals have agreed to devote their talent and years of experience working on labor-management disputes to help reach a swift and smooth resolution of this issue,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

The emergency board will obtain final offers for settlement of the dispute from each side in the 60 days following its establishment. The board will then produce a report to the President that selects the offer that the Board finds to be the most reasonable, the White House said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority rejected the first board’s recommendations.

“The recommendations of the first Presidential Emergency Board ignored the enormous burden that a 17 percent wage increase over six years without a single change in work rules or other cost offest would place on the MTA’s budget,” spokesman Aaron Donovan told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

The agency said it remains hopeful an agreement can be reached.

Members of the Sheet Metal, Air and Transportation Union, the railroad’s largest union, voted to strike in February. Smaller LIRR unions have approved similar votes to walk off the job.

LIRR unions have been without a contract since 2010. Smaller LIRR unions have approved similar votes to walk off the job.

A strike would send 300,000 daily commuters scrambling to find an alternate means of transportation.

If a strike happens, it would be the LIRR’s first since 1994.

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