July 2014 Union Strike

A tentative deal between the MTA and LIRR Unions to avert a July Strike has been reached. See this post for more information.

Friday, June 6

Late Friday Links 6/6

I have been busy this week, so I haven't been able to put out many posts, but the LIRR managed to make the news several times this week.  Here are several links to other places where the LIRR has been in the news over the past couple days:
  • LIRR signal problem in Queens delays trains to, from Penn
    • Service was disrupted on Sunday afternoon when signal problems in HAROLD resulted in Amtrak losing control over the interlocking.  The railroad was able to keep the trains moving by blocking and spiking switches in the interlocking "the old fashioned way," albeit with delays.  There was a chance that the issue was going to extend over into the Monday morning rush, but luckily things were cleared up Sunday night, and there was no noticeable impact on the following morning's rush hour.
  • Belmont Park preparing for Triple Crown crowd, but some fans might face starting-gate stumble 
  • Babylon to spend $200G on East Farmingdale redevelopment
    • The Town of Babylon will be spending $200,000 on planning and design for some new development around the site of the former Republic station.  There has been talk floating around of reopening this station, but at this point in time, there has been little actual progress on this project on the LIRR's part.
  • Newsday Editorial: MTA running late on smartphone ticketing
    • Following the announcement that NICE Bus made its new Mobile Ticketing system available to all riders earlier this week, Newsday published an editorial criticizing the MTA stating that they were "running late on smartphone ticketing" for their commuter railroads.  It's an odd argument considering that of the United States' 26 different commuter railroads, only three currently have mobile ticketing systems in operation, so the MTA is not all that far behind when the vast majority of the United States' commuter railroads (especially the commuter railroads hat are far less complex than the LIRR and Metro-North) have yet to develop a mobile ticketing system.  Additionally, the MTA railroads are soon to become the fourth and fifth commuter railroads to have mobile ticketing, as the commuter railroads are just a few months away from deploying their own mobile ticketing system after a contract was awarded to Masabi, LLC back in April.  It's a good example of Newsday making a mountain out of a molehill, but what more can you expect?
  • Train service, halted by suspicious package, restored at Penn, LIRR says
    • New York Penn Station was evacuated and all train service was suspended last night for some time after a suspicious package was spotted in the station. Officials said that a backpack was left on a Ronkonkoma train that was standing on track 15 at New York Penn, and an MTA Police K9 officer detected something suspicious when the backpack was found, so the NYPD Bomb Squad was called in and the station was evacuated. Train service was restored after an hour or so with residual delays. 
  • Summer Hamptons Service
    • As the third summer weekend is underway (and as we move through the lull of the summer tourism season), the LIRR's summer service to the Hamptons continues.  As far as this Friday's worth of trains goes, the trains have been running on-time but have been very crowded.  They can only build up the consists so much more before there are no C3's left in the yards.  If most trains are standing room only in the middle of June, imagine what they're going to be like in the middle of July...
  • LIRR Labor Agreements
    • Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law, I requested copies of the different labor agreements some time ago.  The MTA finally responded to part of my FOIL request yesterday afternoon, and I have uploaded the different agreements, and you can find them at the link above.
  • Newsday Letter: LIRR unions have prevented strike
    • UTU General Chairman Anthony Simon wrote into Newsday earlier this week.  In his short letter he said that "the unions have done everything in their power to prevent a strike" and that the union leadership asked for a 60-day extension of the final cooling off period "in an effort to spare riders and summer businesses any hardship".  Now my BS meter is beeping like heck, but someone's bound to sneer and accuse it of being anti-union.  But the last sentence of his letter is most alarming: "It's time for the MTA to accept the expert ruling of six members of two presidential mediation panels and move on."  We're not debating what wallpaper the railroad should put up in the Massapequa waiting room, this is a big contract that comes with a significant expense.  If we're going to get into the business of telling people to accept things and move on, perhaps it's time for the unions to accept the MTA's offer and move on...  Mr. Simon's letter gives little explanation as to why the MTA should accept the union's offer, other than the fact that two PEB's (which traditionally lean in the union's favor) said it might be a good idea.
  • Newsday Column: State politics and a potential LIRR strike 
    • It is "convenient" that all of these contract negotiation issues come up in, of all years, and election year for Governor Cuomo.  So far, our Governor hasn't really been a friend to the MTA in his first four years in office, and it would not be unreasonable to assume that there's a chance for Prince Andrew to step in and "save the day" in the eleventh hour by strong-arming the MTA into accepting the deal that is not good for them, yet averting a strike and crossing off a potential threat to his reelection chances this November.  Just think, Cuomo can bully the MTA into accepting an exorbitant contract just so he can get reelected and swipe more money away from the MTA in the next four years.  A promising picture for those who use the MTA's services, eh?
The LIRR will be operating 18 eastbound trains to Belmont Park arriving there between 10:18am and 5:12pm and 20 westbound trains from Belmont Park between 4:16pm and 10:53pm.  The LIRR will be banning alcohol on all trains, stations, and plafroms from 7:00am Saturday through 11:59pm Sunday to ensure orderly travel for those going to or from the Belmont Stakes on Saturday or the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday.  Other than that, there is no major trackwork going on this weekend.

Have a good weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Re: Summer Hamptons Service -

    Today's June 6 Cannonball operated with 10 C3 cars instead of the 12 we saw on May 23, the inaugural 2014 run at the start of the Memorial Day weekend. Even though the weather forecast calls for a 10+ weekend, the number of folks getting off at Westhampton tonight was far fewer than on the 23rd. I plan to make a video of the July 3 run, which - if the weather cooperates - crowd-wise should really be something special to see.

    Cannonball on June 6


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