It was the announcement that millions of daily Long Island Railroad (LIRR) commuters had been waiting to hear for months, following several periods of negotiations between the railroad and its union workers.
The LIRR would NOT be going on a strike, starting on July 20th.
The negotiations between the union and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) came after several previously failed attempts, four years after the previous union contract expired. The agreement finally came when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped in, urging both sides to come to some sort of an agreement. Among the terms of the agreement reached, railroad workers will, for the first time, contribute to their own health insurance.
During the period of failed agreements, many Long Islanders expressed outrage at the union's seemingly greedy demands, as LIRR employees are highly-paid, and monthly railroad tickets from Long Island stations into New York City easily cost riders more than $200 per month.
Despite public opinion about the unions, however, the LIRR is considered integral to the livelihood of many Long Islanders.
Had the strike taken place, millions would have been inconvenienced, since the railroad is considered a centerpiece of Long Island's economic structure, with many people riding the train each day, either to work or for enjoyment. The strike would have also decreased tourism to the area, during the height of the summer season, and cost millions of dollars each day.
The railroad previously went on strike in 1994.
Fortunately, both sides were able to reach an agreement, averting a potentially devastating crisis for Long Island residents.