NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and members of a Long Island Rail Road workers union meet Monday in a final push to avert a potential July strike.

As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, negotiations resume before a White House-appointed mediation panel.

The Presidential Emergency Board will once again try to bring the MTA and railroad employees to a contract agreement. If no deal is reached, a strike deadline is set for mid-July.

Some commuters said they don’t even want to think about that possibility.

“I guess I’d have to start driving to school and spend a lot more money on gas,” one woman told Xirinachs.

“A real inconvenience,” said a commuter.

“I hope that we can avert a strike,” another commuter told Xirinachs. “I hope they come to the table with open minds and if they do, then they’ll get something done.”

The nearly 6,000-member union is seeking a 17 percent pay raise over six years. The MTA has said that won’t happen without benefit give-backs.

Last week, a union leader said the recent tentative deal reached by the MTA and subway and bus union workers was bad for their negotiations.

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