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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and eight unions representing Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) workers yesterday reached an agreement to settle their four-year-old contract dispute, averting a potential LIRR strike that would have begun on Sunday.The agreement provides existing LIRR employees with 17 percent raises over six-and-one-half years, based on recommendations by the Presidential Emergency Board. The new contract also calls for first-time-ever health-care contributions from the 5,400 unionized workers, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MTA officials announced in a press release."Resolving this contract dispute is the right thing to do, and the agreement we have reached [yesterday] is fair to all parties," said Cuomo. "It recognizes the many contributions of the LIRR’s hardworking employees, while also maintaining the fiscal integrity of the MTA."MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said both sides compromised in reaching the deal, which provides employees the "raises they deserve" while protecting MTA's long-term financial stability.United Transportation Union General Chairman Anthony Simon said the agreement "provides a fair and equitable contract" for existing and future LIRR employees. He thanked Cuomo for his assistance in bringing the two sides together."Our workers move hundreds of thousands of commuters a day and their services are integral to the New York economy. On behalf of 5,400 hardworking union members involved in these negotiations, I thank the governor for his efforts, and the MTA for coming to a compromise," said Simon.
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