MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) - The head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says there is a wide gulf between management and unions for the Long Island Rail Road on contract talks aimed at preventing a weekend strike.
That comes after union leaders said earlier Monday that talks had collapsed and members are going ahead with plans to walk off the job Sunday.
Thomas Prendergast says the MTA wants new Long Island Rail Road employees to contribute to health care and pension costs. The union has balked at that.
Prendergast says that despite union pronouncements of an impending strike, the MTA is leaving open the possibility of future talks.
A strike would affect about 300,000 daily riders at the nation's largest commuter railroad.
President Barack Obama appointed two emergency boards to help resolve the dispute, but the MTA rejected both non-binding recommendations.
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