Amtrak strike averted for now Job action by Conrail workers still possible.

December 03, 1991|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Evening Sun Staff

A threatened strike against Amtrak's passenger service has been at least temporarily averted but negotiators for the railroad workers remain on a collision course with the Consolidated Rail Corp. freight system.

Jedd Dodd, head of the Pennsylvania Federation of the Brotherhood of the Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWE), said the threat of a strike against Amtrak had dissolved because the national rail passenger corporation agreed to delay implementation of a new health insurance program until the issue can be addressed in mediation talks.

Conrail, however, is going ahead with its plans to implement the new health-care package at the first of the year. The company is contending that it can begin the new program, even though the company is still involved in mediation talks on other issues.

Conrail is seeking an injunction to keep the union from striking. A hearing date is set in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on Dec. 11.

Baltimore Lodge 3075 of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, which represents 181 area employees of Amtrak and 74 workers for the Conrail rail freight system, is backing the Pennsylvania Federation's fight against the health plan and the union's decision to strike if the new benefits are implemented before mediation talks end.

The health-care plan would increase the percentage workers pay toward their health insurance. The plan was approved in national negotiations with other rail companies earlier this year, but Amtrak and Conrail, which negotiate independently, were not parties to that agreement.

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