The MTA and Long Island Rail Road union leaders remain at odds as they head toward a July 20 deadline that could lead to a work stoppage. Strikes also took place in 1987 and 1994. The 1987 stoppage led to 11 days of misery for commuters. That strike might have been best summed up at the time by Andrew Pologeorgis of Huntington, who said: "It was murder, I tell you." Comparatively speaking, the 1994 strike wasn't all that bad, lasting 45 hours, and only one weekday. Here are the photos that tell the story of those two strikes.
The negotiating table
Sitting around the table are leaders from both management and the union at the Doral Inn on 49th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Included is David Cohen, director of labor relations for the LIRR, John DeSanto, a vice president for the LIRR, and Walter Wallace, a member of the National Mediation board. The man sitting on the window ledge is Steven M. Drayzen of the labor relations office. This picture was taken on Jan. 14, 1987, during a break for photos.
Stu Sanseviro, president of the Long Island Rail Road PBA, talks about contract talks with the LIRR during a news conference on Jan. 15, 1987.
With the Long Island Rail Road stalled because of a strike, trains go unused in a West Islip train yard on Jan. 18, 1987.
Do not enter
It's an unfamiliar sight: Penn Station is nearly empty on Jan. 18, 1987. One man is seen sweeping up at the Manhattan transit hub.
Three Long Island residents who normally commute on the Long Island Rail Road get a ride home in a Cadillac on the night of Jan. 19, 1987. Harris Rosenberg of Syosset, Cosimo Scocci of Bohemia and Alan Sundheimer of Melville took the ride. Alan's wife, Vicki Sundheimer, volunteered to be the chauffeur both ways, and to do a little city shopping as well.
Shea Stadium, transit capital of Queens
The parking lot at Shea Stadium filled up early on Jan. 19, 1987, as commuters who normally depend on the strikebound LIRR had to rely on alternate transportation. By parking at Shea, commuters could then walk to the subway. On the bright side, the Mets were defending World Series champions when this photo was taken.
Out in the cold
Commuters stand in the early morning hours before sunrise waiting for the N20 bus to Flushing on Jan. 20, 1987. The line was so long that people had to wait for more buses because they all couldn't fit in one bus. The buses accommodated 80 people per load, and some buses struggled to make it up hills.
Striking Long Island Rail Road union members shout and hold up signs as a diesel locomotive passes the picket line on Jan. 21, 1987.
Signs of the times
As a commuter asks a bus driver what direction his bus is going, three Long Island Rail Road employees stand on the picket line on Jan. 21, 1987.
Unauthorized, on the tracks
Long Island Rail Road locomotive and engineer union members block the entrance to the Brentwood railroad station parking lot in an attempt to stop a construction crew from working on the tracks on Jan. 21, 1987.
1994 - and the last strike
A demonstration on June 14, 1994, by the United Transportation Union intended to send a message that LIRR employees are fed up and can't go on any longer without a wage increase, said Bill Bilello, president of the track workers' union.
The strike nears
MTA Chairman Peter Stangl is surrounded by the media at the Huntington Hilton in Melville on June 15, 1994, as he answers questions concerning the impending Long Island Rail Road strike that could occur as soon as the next day.
What will tomorrow bring?
On the 5:06 train to Huntington on June 15, 1994, commuters Stuart Levy, left, George Javaras, center, and Norman Mrwik share a few moments on what could be their last train if an LIRR strike occurs at midnight.
All aboard, for now
The Long Island Rail Road was still running on June 16, 1994, as the 7:12 a.m. train left Huntington.
It's time to strike
Union chief Edward Yule Jr. announces the Long Island Rail Road strike to the media at 1:20 a.m. at the Huntington Hilton in Melville on June 17, 1994.
All aboard, a bus
Mike Musatow, safety coordinator of Alert Coach, collects $8 from commuters at the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road station for a bus ride to the subway stop at Howard Beach on June 17, 1994.
AFL-CIO on strike
Long Island Rail Road employees march in front of the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road station, where commuters have to take buses to work instead of trains on June 17, 1994.
Stranded by the strike
The June 18, 1994, strike forced Evan Phillips of Far Rockaway to take the bus to work -- but he still had to call someone for a ride from the Hicksville railroad station to get to his job in Bethpage.
It's all settled
MTA Chairman Peter Stangl announces at the Huntington Hilton in Melville on June 18, 1994, that the Long Island Rail Road strike is over. Lead negotiator Gary Dellarvson stands to his left.
Goodbye, 45-hour strike
Long Island Rail Road conductor Gary McOurt gives the engineer the OK sign that the brakes on the train are good to go on June 19, 1994. This was the first train to Greenport after the strike.