New York, NY – Anthony Simon is the GO-505 General Chairman for SMART Transportation Division, representing conductors, track workers, building and bridge workers, special service attendants, track supervisors, car repairmen and car appearance personnel on the Long Island Rail Road in New York. He also serves as an Alternate Vice President for the SMART Transportation Division International Union as well as serving on various safety and legislative committees nationally representing passenger rail service. 

Simon truly worked his way up from the bottom, beginning his association with the LIRR in 1990 as a station cleaner, and being promoted to Assistant Conductor in 1993. He certified to the position of Conductor in 1997, and soon after began his career as a union leader. His first position was as a committee secretary, after which he was elevated to local secretary and treasurer in 2000. In 2006 he ran for the position of General Chairman, which heads the largest union on the LIRR, and running unopposed with overwhelming support from union members. He was elected in 2010 as District 1 Chairperson on a national level, and has since elevated to International Alternate Vice President. Simon also served on the constitution merger committee, as the SMART union was created through merger.

Simon served on the Passenger Hour of Service working group with the Federal Railroad Administration’s Safety Advisory Committee, while demonstrating tremendous commitment to transportation safety in our region. He organized and implemented a Hurricane Sandy relief fund to benefit railroad families in need affected by the storm, and hosts an annual golf fundraiser in support of families affected by autism on Long Island. 

Simon has been a vital asset in working with the Governor’s Office and the MTA to move forward on an aggressive LIRR infrastructure expansion which includes Mainline double and third track, station rehabilitation, Belmont improvements, ongoing East Side Access work as well as other railroad projects. His expertise in fair negotiations while prioritizing safety and efficiency has been a model for successful labor relations practices in the industry. 

Simon was also appointed Second Vice Chairman in 2018 by the Nassau County Executive to the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) Board as the Labor Representative. Impressively he was instrumental in getting Amazon to agree to use 100% Union Labor to build its Syosset warehouse. 

LaborPress was able to have Simon himself share with our readers more about his successes in contract negotiations, the importance of safety for workers and commuters, what he sees as the future of construction workers’ jobs, and much more.

LP: What have been any recent changes or developments for the members in terms of any new contracts and provisions, and what were you able to achieve in past negotiations?

AS: I am currently in negotiations for a current Collective Bargaining Agreement. In our past agreements over the last 10 years or so, I have achieved industry standard wage increases, pension improvements, maintained work rule protections, benefit packages and most importantly kept all of our members working during the COVID-19 Pandemic when MTA ridership was decimated. I negotiated project/labor agreements to keep multiple union memberships working in harmony side by side, and negotiated for new jobs with the addition of Grand Central Madison.

LP: In your role as International Alternative Vice President, what are some of the things on which you focus?

AS: I provide support and advice in the northeast region to the commuter rail organizations, share achievements, history and agreements to benefit both rail and shop crafts.

LP: What has your role been in the crucial subject of transportation safety in our region?

AS: I have worked closely with MTA Police leadership in achieving increased train patrol units on the Long Island Rail Road during a spike in assaults against railroad workers as well as customers. I have continued to keep our representatives focused on safety conditions throughout our system through safety inspections and reports and scheduled meetings to address concerns. I have addressed and provided solutions toward proper rest for our workforce involved in rail projects and operations.  

LP: What infrastructure developments have there been recently?

AS: While the significant infrastructure expansion at the MTA is funded through its own Capital Plan, the countless transit driven construction projects geared toward downtown areas around transit stations and hubs has fed countless labor organizations in our region. It is a beautiful thing when there is so much work that our union can work side by side with other trade unions and achieve great things for the public with shared prosperity. 

LP: How do you see future LIRR workers’ construction jobs evolving?

AS: Our engineering construction workers have grown the largest commuter rail in the country, even larger. An added second track on the LIRR Mainline as well as a third track addition through Queens and Nassau County. The historic project adding Grand Central Madison, as well as a Mid Day Storage Yard to support the same. The endless, ongoing work to the largest train interlocking in the country (Harold Interlocking) to serve Penn Station as well as Grand Central, utilizing multiple railroads. The addition of Elmont/UBS Arena station, opening the door to even more entertainment opportunities in our region – the list goes on.  The key to the future is most important: supporting a state of good repair to ensure all of this new infrastructure remains safe and reliable, while we still anticipate a new capital plan to continue to grow and make service more reliable. Maintenance, inspection and repairs are vital in keeping a system running. 

Mass Transportation is the key to keeping New Yorkers and Long Islanders working and moving. 

Anthony Simon, GO-505 General Chairman for SMART Transportation Division


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