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N.Y. transit talks near deadline

New Yorkers are hoping for a labor contract or bargaining extension to avert a citywide transit strike Tuesday -- but are looking for other ways to get to work. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents 30,000 workers, were just getting down to a discussion of money issues 36 hours before the midnight Monday contract deadline.

Ed Townsend, national labor correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, reports that the union wants a 30 percent wage increase over two years. The MTA estimates that would boost is labor costs $300 million when it already faces a $ 41 million deficit for 1980 and deficits of $203 million to $289 million over the next three years. The union is expected to give some ground but its rock-bottom price for a settlement is 10 percent a year in a two-year contact.

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A settlement even at that price would probably mean a jump in subway and bus fares from 50 cents now to 75 cents -- unless the city receives a large mass transportation subsidy from New York State.

The Long Island Rail Road may also be struck by seven unions Tuesday.