So the MTA is moving ahead with plans to hire private bus companies to transport commuters in the event one takes place.
One MTA board member opposed the move, saying it seemed to be designed to provoke the unions into striking.
The full MTA board is expected to approve the plan Wednesday, but if buses were used, they could only carry a fraction of the railway's 265,000 daily riders.
The dispute between LIRR unions and MTA management has gone on nearly four years, as the MTA wants laborers to accept a contract similar to the one tentatively reached with bus and subway workers.
It would give employees 11 percent raises over six years, while the unions are pushing for increases of 17 percent.