March 5, 2018: Lawsuit spurs new calls to oust LIRR’s freight rail operator

A lawsuit has been filed against New York & Atlantic Railway (NYAR) by a group of day laborers who claim they were hired to perform tasks on Long Island Railroad’s tracks that included installing and repairing rails and track switches and re-railing derailed freight trains. Activists and lawmakers are pushing to get Long Island Railroad to sever ties with NYAR. Long Island Railroad has permitted NYAR to operate on its tracks since 1997 and recently renewed the agreement between the two railroads for another ten years. However, a spokesman for Long Island Railroad did say if the allegations are proven to be true the company would take that into consideration when reevaluating the relationship with NYAR. The plaintiffs further claim they were denied proper safety equipment and were paid unfair wages for the work they performed.
Kristina Mazzocchi, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said “They’re putting their heads and their bodies under trains with zero training. These workers were not supposed to be there because they hadn’t been qualified. They were not trained to be on those tracks.”
The spokesman for New York & Atlantic Railway, John Cassellini, said the allegations are unsubstantiated, uncorroborated, and unsupported. “Safety of our employees, contractors, and guests is paramount to NYAR, and it is something we take very seriously. We take great pride in creating a culture that sets rigorous standards for safety excellence, fosters an environment rooted in mutual respect in which we encourage employees and contractors to identify and raise safety concerns with management, and offers support in addressing any concerns.” He went on to say that the company would be filing a formal legal response.

Lawsuit spurs new calls to oust LIRR’s freight rail operator