Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is slamming Gov. Andrew Cuomo for refusing to get involved in ongoing contract dispute between the MTA and the LIRR, which could lead to a crippling strike of the commuter railroad’s employees.

Cuomo said yesterday that the idea of a strike causes “so much anxiety I don’t even like to think about it,” adding: “There is no good alternative to the LIRR on Long Island. The commute would be horrendous, however we do it.”

But the governor also shrugged off calls from local elected officials for him to insert himself into the contract talks in an effort to resolve the impasse before the July 20 deadline, saying this is a mess that Congress needs to clean up. That’s not holding water with Astorino, who said in a video today:

“As the clock ticks down on a looming Long Island Railroad strike, Mr. Cuomo is washing his hands of the matter,” Astorino said. “He’s telling New Yorkers to call their member of congress, call their senators, email the White House – do anything, but for god’s sake don’t bother him. He’s not responsible. But when the very same negotiating team working on the Long Island Railroad issue successfully negotiated an MTA settlement, guess who took credit? You guessed it, Andrew Cuomo.”

Cuomo does have a track record of successful intervention in union contract disputes. In April, as Astorino noted, he got involved in a 2-year-old contract dispute between the MTA and New York City transit workers. The result was a five-year deal.

In September 2012, Cuomo jumped in to mediate between the Communications Workers of America and Verizon Communications after 13 months of stalled talks. And, in July of that year, the governor stepped in to end a nearly four-week lockout of 8,000 Utility Workers Union of America employees at ConEd.

Astorino opened his video monologue with a refernce to President Truman, who kept a sign on his White House desk that read: “The buck stops here.”

“There’s a major railroad strike coming that will affect hundreds of thousands of lives. You have to get involved. It’s gut check time, governor. Just ask yourself, ‘What would Harry Truman do?'”

Talks between the LIRR and the union broke down yesterday. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast is meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill today to push for an intervention should a strike develop. Federal mediators have agreed to join the negotiations. The unionized worked are seeking a 17 percent raise over six years and no changes to either work rules or pension contributions.

So far, the MTA has not released a contingency plan for commuters who rely on the LIRR, constituting some 330,000 rides a day.

Today, the MTA started what it called a “communications blitz” aimed at alerting New Yorkers to the potential for a service disruption.

“We continue to hope that we can avoid a work stoppage at the bargaining table,” said Prendergast. “But nevertheless, we want LIRR customers and all Long Island residents to be aware that there is a potential for a disruption of service and what that might mean.”

Print ads are appearing in seven daily newspapers, and radio ads are airing on 11 stations. Updated information is also available on the MTA’s website.

What Would Truman Do? from Rob Astorino on Vimeo.