NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — No new talks have been scheduled between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road workers’ unions, a day after negotiations broke down with both sides walking away from the table.
And as CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, workers have begun preparing in earnest to begin their strike and walk the picket lines.
Picket signs were already prepared Tuesday, and were propped against the walls of the Patchogue headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 589 – the electrical workers for the LIRR. Strike captains told members of the union that they all must walk the picket lines.
“Anyone claiming they cannot picket for whatever reason, we’re not going to entertain it,” said IBEW Local 589 President Jeff Klein. “If they call this office, they’re going to hear, ‘click.’”
With the potential walkout of 5,400 workers looming in just five days, the preparations are real and the message to members has been grim.
“I did tell my members – be prepared for at least a month, a month of a strike – and hopefully, that doesn’t happen,” said IBEW Local 589 general chairman Richard Sanchez.
Meanwhile, the unions have re-offered a cooling off period that would go for a couple of months to come.
“We still have the offer on the table that they have still refused, and that’s a cooling off period until September,” United Transportation Union President Anthony Simon, the workers’ chief negotiator, told CBS 2’s Kramer.
But MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg called it “a hostage negotiation.”
“This is not a labor negotiation, it’s a hostage negotiation,” he told 1010 WINS. “We’re not going to negotiate against ourselves with people who just say, ‘no, more, more’ without being willing to compromise.”