NEW YORK – After four years of negotiations – and weeks of fretting by 300,000 daily riders about a possible strike – unions and management at the nation’s largest commuter railroad reached a tentative contract agreement Thursday.
The deal announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who personally got involved in the final hours of the negotiations, gives Long Island Rail Road workers a 17 percent pay raise over six and a half years but requires them to contribute to their health care costs for the first time.
Cuomo, who is running for a second term in November, hailed the deal as a compromise that protects workers and riders because it calls for no additional fare hikes.
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the LIRR’s parent organization, the typical salary for a Long Island Rail Road worker is $65,000, and with overtime annual earnings average $85,000. A round-trip peak ticket from central Nassau County to Manhattan currently costs $25 a day; an unlimited trip monthly ticket is $276.