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Tentative rail labor deal reached, averting looming strike

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - President Joe Biden said today that a tentative rail

labor agreement has been reached averting a potential strike that would

have affected train commuters and supply chains throughout San Diego.

Amtrak was bracing for potential large-scale disruptions in service

because of the looming nationwide rail strike that was set to begin at midnight

Friday.

In a statement released Thursday, Biden said the agreement is "an

important win for our economy and the American people. It is a win for tens of

thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure

that America*s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us

going during these difficult years."

Several unions representing tens of thousands of rail workers were at

an impasse with railroad companies, seeking more predictable schedules and work

conditions. Of the 12 unions, nine had agreed to tentative deals as of

Wednesday while the others remained at the bargaining table.

"We are hopeful that a resolution will be reached prior to Thursday

but as the parties have not yet reached an agreement, we are doing everything

we can to notify our customers and provide alternate service options if the

rail service is interrupted," Jason Jewell, interim Managing Director of the

LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency said on Wednesday. "We have closely coordinated

with Amtrak and Metrolink to maximize service options for our customers

including providing bus bridges where possible."

A rail strike would have also impacted the ports of Los Angeles and

Long Beach, which rely on trains to ship cargo. Gene Seroka, executive director

of the Port of Los Angeles, was scheduled to hold a news briefing Thursday

morning to address the situation.

Metrolink and Amtrak are not directly involved in the negotiations,

but a strike would have an impact on service.

Metrolink was preparing to cancel some or all trains in Orange,

Ventura and Riverside counties beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday. All Ventura County

Line service would operate only between Los Angeles and Moorpark, and Metrolink

would offer alternate transportation beyond Moorpark.

A full list of possible Metrolink cancellations is available at

https://bit.ly/3eSJNNn.

Amtrak announced that it was preparing to cancel long-distance trains

beginning Thursday, including routes beginning in Chicago, Seattle and New

Orleans with a final destination in Los Angeles.

"While we are hopeful that parties will reach a resolution, Amtrak

has now begun phased adjustments to our service in preparation for a possible

freight rail service interruption later this week,'' Amtrak said in a statement

Wednesday. "Such an interruption could significantly impact intercity

passenger rail service."

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

 

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