Since early 2010, TCU has been trying to negotiate an agreement with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) without success. Over the last four years, LIRR remained steadfast in its insistence that all of its unions, including the TCU, accede to unusually harsh and unrealistic contract demands, including three years of “net zero” wage increases. After numerous fruitless bargaining and mediation sessions, on October 22, 2013, the National Mediation Board released the parties from mediation, leading to the creation of PEB 244.
PEB 244 issued its report on December 21, 2013 and while TCU did not obtain everything it sought in PEB 244’s recommendations, the report was well reasoned and represented a fair compromise between the parties. TCU advised that it was willing to accept the recommendations of PEB 244. Unfortunately, the company rejected the report at a public hearing conducted by the NMB on January 15, 2014.
This has now brought about the second PEB in this dispute, PEB 245, was established on March 22, 2014 and a hearing commenced on April 21, 2014. The Board now has until Tuesday, May 20, 2014 to issue its final report, at which time; there will be a final 60-day cooling-off period, which expires at the end of day, Saturday, July 19, 2014.
TCU President Bob Scardelletti stated, “If no agreement is reached between the parties, the Union is free at that time to engage in a strike. If we fail to strike the company will impose its changes. Meaning that the company would be rewarded for its steadfast refusal to engage in meaningful negotiations. We can never let that happen. We must defend ourselves.”
“After a unanimous vote from the Long Island Railroad Local Chairmen and pursuant to my authority under Article 13, Section 22 and Article 18, Section 1(c) of the Constitutions/By-Laws of our Union, I hereby order a strike of all TCU members on the Long Island Railroad to commence at 12:01 am, on Sunday, July 20, 2014 in the event that the parties are unable to reach agreement prior to the expiration of the cooling off period.”