At the last minute a strike by Long Island Rail Road workers was averted when they agreed to begin contributing to their health insurance and pensions.
Travelers on the Long Island Rail Road were spared a debilitating midsummer strike on Thursday, when the railroad and its unions reached an agreement three days before a planned walkout….
The unions received raises of 17 percent over six and a half years. But following a national trend in which workers shoulder an increasing share of their health costs, the railroad employees will, for the first time, contribute a portion of their pay, 2 percent, toward their health coverage.
The union had earlier rejected a proposal requiring “employees to contribute 2 percent of regular pay toward health care costs and pensions”. This seemed out of touch with the reality of what most of their riders have to deal with.
In the private sector, the average percent of health premium paid by employees is 16% for individual coverage and 27% for family coverage.
A talk show host who is usually on the side of unions had scornfully remarked that replacement workers could easily be found for these plum jobs that consisted mainly of “punching tickets”.
The New York Post wrote that the average LIRR worker makes $87,182 annually. Moreover, a third of the unionized workers make over $100,000. They get free health care and two pensions, but still, they want more.