Home Asides The politics of a potential LIRR strike delay

The politics of a potential LIRR strike delay

by Benjamin Kabak

Here is an interesting bit from Newsday: While the UTU has not officially requested a 60-day delay for its looming summer strike, union officials have floated the idea of pushing the strike back from the summer to mid-September. The strike would begin on September 17 instead of July 19, seemingly sparing Long Island’s summer tourism season.

“Our members care about Long Island and its economy,” Anthony Simon, general chairman of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union/United Transportation Union, said to the Long Island newspaper. “All we would need is the MTA to mutually agree on the extension.”

The MTA seems willing to entertain the request, thus giving both sides more time to work out a deal. Overall, though, this is an interesting political move by the UTU. It shows their willingness to recognize the public need, and it pushes the strike date closer and closer to Election Day. I have a hard time believing Gov. Andrew Cuomo, looking for a resounding victory, would allow a strike seven weeks before New York voters head to the polls, and the UTU knows this as well. As always, stay tuned.

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anon_coward May 30, 2014 - 12:47 pm

i’d say a summer strike would be seen as the union’s fault
a september strike would have more pressure on the MTA to pay up

Larry Littlefield May 30, 2014 - 1:07 pm

“I have a hard time believing Gov. Andrew Cuomo, looking for a resounding victory, would allow a strike seven weeks before New York voters head to the polls, and the UTU knows this as well.”

That depends on how he wants to run. If he wants to take on Ed Koch’s “liberal with sanity” mantle, refusing to knuckle under to a union in the aftermath of the disability scandal might work for him.

He’s going to be re-elected Governor. The question is what plays in the race for President, if he chooses, or for his legacy.

Bolwerk May 30, 2014 - 3:23 pm

I don’t have time to research this more, but what is the WFP saying about this? They seem like the type of soft-left milqeutoasts who would take the LIRR’s side hook, line, and sinker. (Despite the LIRR union’s members likely largely disagreeing with them on almost every other “progressive” issue.)

Larry Littlefield May 30, 2014 - 3:32 pm

In some ways the “progressives” just represent self-interest groups. Remember: the executive/financial class, the political/union class, and the serfs.

We haven’t had real “progressives” as there were when the term was defined around here for 40 years.

Bolwerk May 31, 2014 - 11:44 am

The Democrats are the conservatives, for better or for worse. They are clinging decisions/ideas made 40 (Roe v. Wade) to 80 (New Deal) years ago. This is especially true in NYS.

Walt Gekko June 3, 2014 - 6:44 am

The bigger thing Cuomo has to worry about if he runs for President is to not do anything that could cost the Democrats Florida, a state with 29 electoral votes and one that has swung both ways. Florida would be way more important than New York transit issues if he runs for President.

rob May 30, 2014 - 2:17 pm

Union out to deceive us again. Ridership is LOWER during summer, and when the strike would be LESS painful. So that, of course, is why they would postpone it.

Bolwerk May 30, 2014 - 2:30 pm

The politics of this are actually almost hilariously ad hoc. It has the superficial trappings of dopey faux-populist Democratic/union sycophancy, mixed with smug Republikan avariciousness and chauvinism. Almost nobody should want to touch this situation.

Schlong Gisland isn’t exactly Cuomo’s base, so maybe he doesn’t give that much of a shit. Making a spectacle of sticking it to an especially egregious union has political risks for him, though it might pay off if he runs for president and wants to show off his I-really-am-a-Red-Stater credentials. (Never worked for Obama, but then Cuomo isn’t black.) If done carefully, it does let him pet the peckers of all the less-egregious unions, which probably still need to have no said to them more often. Hell, it might even pay off with the Wall Street types Cuomo would want to impress if he runs for POTUS.

But Cuomo never seemed like someone who wanted to take big political risks. He seems to have a history of quietly capitulating to actual power, and everybody getting screwed by the LIRR unions (riders, potential riders who can no longer afford it, voters) has little of that.

Subutay Musluoglu May 30, 2014 - 2:53 pm

And this is how nothing ever changes in New York State – there will be no work rule changes, no concessions on the part of the union, and just like the father cut off Peter Stangl at the knees in 1994, the son will do the same with Prendergast 20 years later. Everyone should brace for more years of mediocrity at the LIRR – the railroad that still thinks it’s running an excursion railroad in the late 19th Century.


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