NEW YORK — Talk about a cherry on top of the “Summer of Hell” — Metro-North's largest union representing conductors, engineers and more, is moving closer to a strike after asking members to authorize it.
The union has been trying to negotiate with the MTA, but aren't getting what they want on several key issues, including what they say are a lack of promotions from within the company and extended disability proceedings that leave families w no health insurance.
Metro-North is the nation’s second-largest railroad just behind the LIRR, and a strike could mean nearly 300,000 daily commuters would be forced to find a new way to work.
The head of the union, James Fahey, apologized in advance to the 280,000 daily commuters, even as the MTA says any strike would be illegal and irresponsible.
The MTA responded to the possibility of a strike, with spokesman Aaron Donovan saying, "We don’t negotiate labor contracts in the press. We expect any outstanding issues will be resolved. Let’s be clear: threatening an unlawful strike is completely irresponsible and is an insult to hundreds of thousands of Metro-North customers.”
The MTA declined to provide any information on possible contingency plans for transporting commuters.
In the meantime, commuters are left wondering what future transit issues they will or will not face.
Michael Tambarkis, of Nyack, first learned that the union was inching closer to striking when PIX11 approached him.
When asked what his options would be, the carless suburban commuter said he could only come up with one pricey alternative — cabs.
Krystal Alonzo of Yonkers said simply, "It's gonna be a big inconvenience. I can't imagine what it's like to not be able to get to work on time.”
Renee Cane, also of Yonkers is a nurse who works in Manhattan.
"It did run through my head, 'Oh my gosh! What am I going to do? How am I going to get to work? How much is it going to cost? A lot. A lot."