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Queens Chronicle

LIRR, unions brace for a Sunday strike

MTA warns of crowded buses, subways and ‘significantly longer’ commutes

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 4:33 pm, Fri Jul 18, 2014.

M ore than 5,400 employees of the Long Island Rail Road could walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday if there is no progress on a new contract.

The workers are the highest-paid commuter railroad employees in the country, but also have been working without a contract since 2010.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is warning commuters that city buses, trains and roads are likely to be very crowded and commute times significantly longer in the event of a strike.

The MTA is offering a 17 percent raise over seven years, with employees paying 2 percent for medical benefits and future hires paying 4 percent. They now pay nothing.

The unions are seeking 17 percent over six years. According to the MTA the unions also have offered to double the amount of time it takes for workers to vest their pensions; and to have new employees pay into their pensions longer than the current 10 years.

The MTA is offering the following alternatives for LIRR customers who reside in Queens:

• Those living near the Murray Hill, Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck stations can take the Q12, Q13, and Q28 buses to the No. 7 Train at Flushing Main Street. There also is QM3 peak express bus service;

• Queens Village riders can get the Q1 and Q36 buses to the F Train at 179th Street in Jamaica;

• Hollis riders can get the Q2 to the 179th Street F Train station, or the Q110 to the E, J and Z lines at Jamaica Center;

• The E, J and Z lines also are available to those near the St. Albans LIRR station via the Q4 bus;

• From the Locust Manor LIRR station, the Q85 bus can link riders with the E, J and Z trains at Jamaica Center. There also will be QM21 peak express service into Manhattan;

• Far Rockaway residents are asked to take the A train from the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station;

• LIRR riders who use the Kew Gardens and Forest Hills stations can get the E, F, M and R trains at Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike or Forest Hills-71st Avenue;

• Those using the LIRR Woodside station can get take the No. 7 train.

Park and ride services will be set up at City Field south of Roosevelt Avenue, where No. 7 Train service is available. But the lot will close at 9 a.m. if the New York Mets are hosting a day game, and at noon if they have a night game.

A lot also will be set up at Aqueduct Race Track at North Conduit Avenue, offering access to the A train.

All lots set up in Queens and on Long Island will be patrolled by MTA Police, Port Authority Police, the NYPD, New York State Police and other law enforcement agencies.

The MTA also is asking that people who can arrange with their employers to work from home, car pool or stay in the city with friends or family when possible to reduce the anticipated increase on alternative transportation sources.

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