Long Island Rail Road union workers and supporters call on...

Long Island Rail Road union workers and supporters call on the MTA to accept their demands for a new 6-year-contract with 17 percent raises during a rally at the Massapequa LIRR station Saturday, June 21, 2014. Credit: Barry Sloan

A deal to avert the LIRR strike was reached on July 20. For the latest, visit newsday.com/lirrstrike.

A July 20 strike deadline looms as the MTA and unions that represent about 5,400 Long Island Rail Road employees continue to disagree on contract terms.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked strike-related questions.

Check back for regular FAQ updates.

How are negotiations going?

Heeding calls from the governor and members of Long Island's congressional delegation, the LIRR unions and the MTA returned to the bargaining table Wednesday afternoon. The MTA spokesman said it was a "good sign" that the two sides were meeting.

The last round of talks had broken down on Monday. 

Read more: nwsdy.li/lirrlatest

Does the MTA have a contingency plan?

Yes. The MTA on July 11 said it will run eight locations for carpool staging, two park-and-ride areas at Citi Field and the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens where riders can connect to subways, shuttle bus services to park and rides and subway stations, and free ferry service from Glen Cove to Manhattan.

See the full plan at nwsdy.li/mtaplan.

Will Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo step in and mediate?

As of now, the answer is no. The governor has said that Congress is better suited to break the deadlock.

Will Congress step in?

At the moment, no. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) said, "At this time, Congress is not an option."

But Congress can push the deadline back by weeks or months under the Railway Labor Act.

It could also order both sides to go before a third party, which would hand down a new contract.

Congress could also impose the recommendations of two independent Presidential Emergency Boards empaneled by the White House. Those recommendations called for 17 percent raises over six years and no changes to work rules or pensions. That's a solution the MTA would rather avoid.

Congress could come up with its own contract, on which union members would not have the opportunity to vote.

Or, of course, Congress could do nothing.

When did LIRR employees last go on strike?

The last strike took place in 1994, although the last strike to last more than one weekday occurred in 1987.

See images from past strikes at nwsdy.li/pastlirrstrikes

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