After months of threatening to follow through on their intentions to strike, workers on the Long Island Rail Road have called to pull their trains into the station indefinitely. Negotiations between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and labor unions fell through on Monday, during an event at which MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast walked out after 45 minutes.
Too late to compromise
Capital New York explained that talks came to a standstill when board leaders on both sides failed to come to a compromise regarding the pay raises requested by the unions. Issues such as health care contributions and retroactive compensation also factored into the gridlock that resulted after mediated discussions beginning back in September 2013.
“MTA rejected the counter-offer we presented last Thursday,” said Simon in a statement, the source reported. “They presented no counter proposal. They continue to insist that the unions agree to a contract worth less than the value of the compromise recommendations of two Presidential Emergency Boards.”
While the strike is set to commence at 12:01 AM on Sunday June 20, the LIRR will likely begin winding down operations this Wednesday to secure equipment and organize its resources.
What does this mean for businesses?
Long Island is home to more than 300,000 individuals who rely on the LIRR to get to their workplace destinations on a daily basis. This means that several hundred businesses in the New York Metropolitan area may suffer from the absence of employees stranded due to the strike.
The media has not been optimistic about the LIRR returning to work anytime soon – organizations in the city will have to develop a plan to continue operations despite being unable to bring its workers into the office. Prendergast was reportedly unwilling to budge, suggesting that it may be weeks before discussions reopen and the strike is put to an end.
“Until they’re ready to move, there’s no reason to have negotiations,” Prendergast said, according to Capital New York.
Short-term solutions won’t work
The MTA has not provided commuters and businesses with any sustainable fixes to the forthcoming problems sure to arise with the strike. Business Insider explained that while the organization’s contingency plan to shuttle workers into the city on school busses is in place, it will likely result in traffic issues turning the Long Island Expressway into a 70-mile parking lot.
In addition, the bus solution simply does not hold much appeal for workers accustomed to regularly riding the LIRR.
“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet hole,” claimed Ethan Seatts, a Brooklyn man who travels by rail several days a week according to the source. “It will help some, but it won’t solve the problem. It will be miserable standing up on a bus like sardines.”
Developing a substantial plan
All is not lost for companies equipped to ensure business continuity in the face of interruptions such as the LIRR strike. The New York Times pointed out that today’s remote access policies are conducive to keeping Long Island-based workers in the loop.
“The strong assumption is, again, the combination of being July and the ability of people to work from home is going to make this, thank God, something that can be managed very effectively,” said Vincent Campasano, a Bayport commuter, according to the source.
But while telecommuting strategies may be able to uphold productivity and quality standards for a certain length of time, it won’t be long before workers will need to return to a collaborative environment to get things done. This is why business leaders should look into solutions such as local backup office spaces or dedicated work environments set apart from the city entirely.
With a strong continuity blueprint ready to be put into action, organizations can successfully overcome the roadblocks of the LIRR strike and keep their doors open for business.