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Eight LIRR unions approve labor contract, union leader says
Members of the unions representing most workers on the Long Island Rail Road have overwhelmingly approved the four-year-long labor contract negotiated last month, a union leader said Friday.
About 95 percent of the members of the eight unions voted in favor the contract, according to Anthony Simon, general chairman of the United Transportation Union and the lead negotiator for the coalition of unions. He said he did not have the breakout of each union's vote or the raw vote total.
The MTA, parent agency of the railroad, said it had no further comment on the contract, which it described as "fair and reasonable" at the time it was reached.
"This was an absolutely unprecedented margin of approval," Simon said. "I'm very pleased that we could deliver this contract for our members and for the riders. With the governor's steadfast push to get this done, we did it."
The MTA and the unions, with prodding from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, reached the deal July 17, averting a strike set for three days later by some 5,400 workers.
The contract provides a 17-percent raise over 6½ years to the workers, who average $87,000 a year. It also requires workers to begin paying for health care at a rate of about 2 percent of their weekly wages.
Negotiations are continuing between the MTA and three smaller unions.