Lew's View: LIRR workers' strike threat

Lew Leone is the vice president and general manager of WNYW-FOX 5. He is taking to the airwaves with his thoughts on current affairs. It's called "Lew's View." The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.

In this commentary, Mr. Leone weighs in on a possible work strike by LIRR employees.


Millionaires on strike? Well that's exactly what we'll see if the MTA's Long Island Rail Road workers go forward with a threatened strike in September.

According to Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute, "28% of LIRR workers made above $100,000 in 2013. That doesn't include pension benefits for life that a regular commuter would have to save $1.2 million in a retirement pot to guarantee."

In other words these workers are well compensated, set for life in retirement, and yet they are ready to inconvenience hard working commuters in order to get more.

What do they want?

17% raise over 6 years -- which is more than the other larger MTA unions

What don't they want to agree to?

Changes in work rules to save money

Raising the retirement age one year, to 63

And for new workers to contribute 5.3% of salary towards their pension

LIRR workers made big news in 2011 with a huge disability scam when a majority of retired workers made false claims at taxpayer's and rider's expense.

And the LIRR is constantly part of our news coverage with delays, service interruptions, and cancellations. Now the unions want to inflict more pain by not agreeing to the proposed raises and work rule changes.

The possible strike date is weeks before Election Day and intended to convince Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take the easy way out and cave to union demands in order to avoid a strike.

Ms. Gelinas makes the point that this is actually an opportunity for the governor to stand up for the working people who depend on the railroad to get to work and take a stand against union demands.

I agree.

What commuters really need is for their money to be spent on improved service and reliability and not bigger raises for some of the best paid railroad workers in the world.


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