LIRR jobs saved under new deal with unions

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The Long Island Rail Road says it has avoided a shutdown of nearly a score of ticket windows, including Flushing-Main Street, and layoffs of two cleaning crews as a result of a short-term agreement with one of its unions.

The LIRR said the agreement, which runs to March 2012, changes some of the work rules and contract provisions between the railroad and the Transportation Communications Union.

The agreement, extending to next March, modifies some contractual work rules with the union and brings enough savings to avert the planned layoffs of 17 ticket clerks later this year. The layoffs would have meant the shutdown of ticket offices and a cut in hours of ticket window services at 18 LIRR stations.

The reductions will now be put off for at least nine months. LIRR officials said they hoped to discuss an extension of the temporary agreement in order to avoid closing ticket windows and laying off workers next year.

The reduction in numbers of ticket clerks will now be accomplished through attrition and will mean five ticket offices — Flushing-Main Street, Amityville, Lynbrook, Massapequa and Wantagh — will be kept open two days a week rather than closing altogether.

LIRR officials said the railroad had saved $1.3 million as a result of the reductions. The accord also cuts by half the number of ticket offices where hours of operation would have been cut.

TCU Vice President Arthur Maratea said, “The TCU has given the LIRR the right to work its employees for straight time on two holidays this year. In addition, we have waived various work rules, from many of our different crafts, which will allow the LIRR to realize savings and keep many ticket offices from closing, which would have had a negative impact on our customers.”

LIRR President Helena Williams said, “I applaud the TCU leadership for its willingness of help in this process.”

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

Updated 11:07 am, October 12, 2011
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