Threat of Congressional Action Looms in LIRR Strike
NEW YORK (AP) _ A strike against the nation’s busiest commuter railroad is heading into its second week, and New York’s congressional delegation is preparing action that could force striking workers back to their jobs.
Negotiators for the Long Island Rail Road and its employees’ unions are to resume talks Monday after a weekend break, but one union leader said the two sides were ″not really″ close to agreement.
Seven unions have signed contracts with the LIRR, but pledged to honor the picket lines of the other eight unions that are on strike.
The strike, which began Jan. 18, has forced about 150,000 commuters to find other means of transportation between Long Island and New York City, further clogging jammed roadways leading into the city and swamping subway lines that extend into the borough of Queens.
Rep. Norman F. Lent and Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Alfonse D’Amato were preparing emergency legislation to order the strikers back to work for a 60-day cooling off period.
Lent said a vote is expected in the House on Tuesday.
Joseph A. Cassidy Jr., negotiating for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, said that while the two sides are far apart, the threat of congressional action had raised his hopes for a settlement.
″Neither the railroad nor the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers wants any sort of congressional sanctions being imposed on us,″ Cassidy said.