Union chief vows to keep negotiating as New York commuter rail strike looms

The chief negotiator for unions at the nation's largest commuter railroad is vowing to keep working toward a deal that would avoid a strike.

Anthony Simon says the unions will do everything in their power to prevent New York's Long Island Rail Road from grinding to a halt at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

The unions and the LIRR are set for a second day of renewed negotiations Thursday. They held a session Wednesday at the urging of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH'-moh) after two days of increased tension and bleak prospects for resolution.

Cuomo says everything must be done to prevent 300,000 daily riders "from being held hostage by a strike."

The railroad's 5,400 unionized workers haven't had a contract since 2010.

The state comptroller says a strike could cost the economy $50 million a day.


Blidner reported from New York.