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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

State pols warn hour's late for LIRR pact, but keep remarks neutral

When three state senators held a news conference urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to intervene in the Long Island Rail Road labor dispute, they judiciously avoided offering opinions on tricky particulars -- such as what a fair wage deal might look like.

Appearing Wednesday at the Hicksville LIRR station, Sens. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) and Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) stuck to a broader message that the hour is growing late toward a possible strike and that even this uncertainty is potentially harmful.

Martins warned that Congress, a potential arbiter if a strike occurs under the LIRR's federal labor process, will soon be in recess. Marcellino said: "We want the governor to do what he does -- work his magic so it doesn't get to a strike."

When asked if he thought pay hikes proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority -- announced as 17 percent over seven years -- sounded reasonable, Marcellino said that beyond media reports he had "not seen a proposal so I'm not sure if it's reasonable or not."

This bargaining is complex. MTA cost-savings demands come into play. And Marcellino said the senators don't want added fare hikes because commuters already pay plenty to ride.

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