NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The head of Metro-North’s biggest union said he’ll ask members to authorize a strike to protest contractual disputes with the railroad.

James Fahey, executive director of the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, which represents 2,400 Metro-North conductors and engineers, tells 1010 WINS the railroad is refusing to promote union members to better jobs.

“They’re totally disregarding the contractual agreement that says we have to hire internals first, and they’re hiring people that drove buses,” Fahey said.

Fahey claims the railroad is also violating the contract by allowing disability claims to linger, causing workers to lose health insurance.

“It’s taken up to two and a half years before their committee can decide if a man’s disabled, and after so long they lose all their healthcare for their family,” Fahey said.

Fahey told the Journal News the union could be asked to vote on a strike this week, and he apologized in advance to the railroad’s 280,000 daily commuters.

In a statement, a Metro-North spokesperson said “we do not negotiate in the press,” but added “We are continuing to have very productive talks with ACRE and expect to resolve any outstanding issues. However, to threaten hundreds of thousands of Metro-North customers with an unlawful strike is completely irresponsible.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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