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LIRR Strike I Don't Have To Deal With!
Old 07-11-2014, 05:29 PM   #1
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LIRR Strike I Don't Have To Deal With!

Long Island commuters who use the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to get to work in New York City are facing a possible LIRR strike in about a week from now. This would cause considerable hardship for the thousands and thousands of people who use the LIRR every day.

Back in 1987 and 1994, the LIRR went on strike. Both of those occurred when I was working and using the trains every day. The 1994 strike lasted only one day in June but the 1987 strike lasted 2 weeks in the middle of winter (January) and included 3 snowstorms which made driving horrible. Those 2 weeks were the worst 2 of my life in terms of the commute. Thankfully, I had just moved closer to NYC a few months earlier so I was able to hang in there with a drive to the subway.

But this time, I will not be affected to any significant degree. I have ridden on the LIRR only twice since I ERed in late 2008. I will be using the LIRR this Sunday night because I am away from NY now and will be returning via Amtrak to Penn Station and the LIRR home. Thankfully, any strike will not begin until well after tomorrow night.

To those of here who use the LIRR, I hope you are spared from a strike. But being an ER, once again I react to this with: "I am sooooooooooo glad I don't have to deal with that CRAP any more!"
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:25 PM   #2
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I know what you mean. I suffered through a 6-week strike on Metro-North in 1983. Experiences like that have a way of curbing one's enthusiasm toward public sector unions.
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Old 07-12-2014, 02:28 AM   #3
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I lived through subway strikes by the criminals that run the MTA's union. No more!
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:05 AM   #4
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I am so glad you don't have to deal with those trains any more, Scrabbler! They sound pretty awful even when there isn't a strike.

Even though my commute was only 6 minutes by car in the morning (just a mile and a half), when the fog rolls in off the Gulf of Mexico I am SO glad that I don't have to drive to work in it any more. I don't like driving in heavy fog at all, even for a short distance. It's scary to have poor visibility, and of course the other drivers don't do much to reassure me.

I confess that I do enjoy watching the traffic report on foggy mornings. It always seems to lift by 9-10 AM.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:09 AM   #5
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Fire'd@51, I remember the Metro-North strike in 1983. I was in college at the time, in an NYU dorm in Greenwich Village, but my roommate was from Connecticut and had a lot of trouble getting home for the weekend once or twice during that strike.

jon-nyc, I remember the 1980 subway strike but was still in high school at the sime and was not affected by it. More recently, I remember the 2005 subway strike that December. I was not a subway rider at the time, using the LIRR and PATh trains to get to work a few days a week. However, Penn Station was a mess because many of the displaced subway riders used the LIRR to get to stations in Queens. I somehow found a way to get into Penn and avoid the huge lines of people and made my train.

What pushed me over the edge during the 1987 LIRR strike was a secondary action by the LIRR unions. They had picket lines at locations on the Ronkonkoma branch where outside contractors were building a third rail to electrify several miles of track. The strike gave these contrators a lot of added time to do their work, weather permitting, with no trains running on those tracks. But with picket lines blocking their way, the contractors refused to cross them so no work got done during this golden opportunity to get more work done. What is to be gained by this stupid move to delay this project? Construction of the third rail was a good thing for the LIRR's unions because it meant the LIRR needed to hire more unionized workers to operate and maintain these additional electric trains. I was just livid when I learned of this boneheaded move by the unions.

W2R, yes, the trains were lousy even on good days, between late ones, short trains creating overcrowding, no A/C in the summer, rising fares, service reductions, and, more recently, all those loud cell phone yakkers which made a lousy ride worse. Good riddance to it all!
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
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I remember the 1980 subway strike but was still in high school at the sime and was not affected by it. More recently, I remember the 2005 subway strike that December. I was not a subway rider at the time, using the LIRR and PATh trains to get to work a few days a week. However, Penn Station was a mess because many of the displaced subway riders used the LIRR to get to stations in Queens. I somehow found a way to get into Penn and avoid the huge lines of people and made my train.
I managed to survive the 1980 subway strike, too. I was living in Queens at the time. The LIRR wouldn't stop at any of the Queens stations during rush hour in sympathy with the subway strike. So I had to wait until after 9AM to get a train into Penn Station, then take the PATH over to New Jersey and back to the World Trade Center to get to my job downtown. Same drill (in reverse) going home after work.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:29 AM   #7
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SEPTA commuter rail in Philadelphia went on strike several weeks ago for one day. Presidential order sent them back to work.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:42 AM   #8
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I managed to survive the 1980 subway strike, too. I was living in Queens at the time. The LIRR wouldn't stop at any of the Queens stations during rush hour in sympathy with the subway strike. So I had to wait until after 9AM to get a train into Penn Station, then take the PATH over to New Jersey and back to the World Trade Center to get to my job downtown. Same drill (in reverse) going home after work.
I recall the LIRR actually going on a full sympathy strike in 1980, at least for part of the time the NYC Transit was on strike. This triggered the MTA tyring to invoke New York State's 1967 Taylor Law which prohibits strikes by public sector employees involved in the delivery of crucial public services (i.e. cops, firemen, teacher, etc.). One of the penalties is a loss of 2 days of pay for every 1 day on strike. The LIRR's unions fought back, claiming that because a few freight trains run on the LIRR's tracks and and are operated by some of the LIRR's unionized employees, they are allowed to strike under the Federal Railway Labor Act (FRLA). The case went to the SCOTUS and the unions won in a 1982 decision. This decision permanently granted the LIRR's unions to strike which is why they are paid a lot more than their counterparts with the NYCTA (subways) which have no freight in it. The MTA would rather cave to the unions and raise fares (and endure the wrath of the commuters and spineless, pass-the-buck pols) than take them on and bust them up, even if it means a long strike.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:45 AM   #9
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In my area a major highway will be down to one lane for about a week this summer. Another major route has been closed for about 50% of the summer weekends so far. Another major highway has various lane closures due to necessary repairs and widening. Needless to say, like Scrabbler1, I have a watermelon smile at the moment.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:44 AM   #10
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In my area a major highway will be down to one lane for about a week this summer. Another major route has been closed for about 50% of the summer weekends so far. Another major highway has various lane closures due to necessary repairs and widening. Needless to say, like Scrabbler1, I have a watermelon smile at the moment.

It sounds like you're in my neck of the woods. I'm lucky that I primarily bike to work. A couple of years ago this wouldn't have been possible, since the ride would have been about 20 miles one way. I changed jobs and now it's an easy and enjoyable ride.

It really is better to live close to your employment if possible. It greatly improves you're quality of life while working.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:07 AM   #11
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I recall the LIRR actually going on a full sympathy strike in 1980, at least for part of the time the NYC Transit was on strike. This triggered the MTA tyring to invoke New York State's 1967 Taylor Law which prohibits strikes by public sector employees involved in the delivery of crucial public services (i.e. cops, firemen, teacher, etc.). One of the penalties is a loss of 2 days of pay for every 1 day on strike. The LIRR's unions fought back, claiming that because a few freight trains run on the LIRR's tracks and and are operated by some of the LIRR's unionized employees, they are allowed to strike under the Federal Railway Labor Act (FRLA). The case went to the SCOTUS and the unions won in a 1982 decision. This decision permanently granted the LIRR's unions to strike which is why they are paid a lot more than their counterparts with the NYCTA (subways) which have no freight in it. The MTA would rather cave to the unions and raise fares (and endure the wrath of the commuters and spineless, pass-the-buck pols) than take them on and bust them up, even if it means a long strike.
As I recall, even in strikes where the Taylor Law was applicable, any fines or penalties were negotiated away as part of the settlement. I don't recall anyone ever paying them.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:17 AM   #12
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I can remember a Penn Central strike back in early 70s when I commuted from Westchester to NYC. Had to drive to Woodlawn in the Bronx and then take the subway to Grand Central; that sucked and I do not miss it one bit.
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:03 AM   #13
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As I recall, even in strikes where the Taylor Law was applicable, any fines or penalties were negotiated away as part of the settlement. I don't recall anyone ever paying them.
And even when the penalties are not negotiated away, there are enough loopholes to minimize any pain. I recall after the illegal 2005 strike by NYC transit workers around Christmas time, the union's leaders faced jail time but were able to sharply reduce it because of rules in law about how to count the days served. Their already short jail term (2 weeks, perhaps) became only a few days, making any incentive not to repeat such an illegal strike basically disappear.
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