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Possible Amtrak union strike threatens train service

September 30, 2003
By: Stephanie Hockridge
State Capital Bureau

The trains are rolling now, but that could stop if Amtrak union employees carry out a planned strike on Oct. 3.

Stephanie Hockridge has the story.

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Amtrak unions say they plan to strike if more funding is not pledged.

For Missouri residents, that could mean no more trips between St. Louis and Kansas City.

Amtrak Spokesmen Dan Stessel says this walkout is not only ill-advised, but also illegal.

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"IF YOU LISTEN TO THE UNIONS, THE REASON THAT THEY GIVE FOR WALKING OUT IS TO DRAW ATTENTION TO AMTRAK'S UNDERFUNDING AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, AND, WE FEEL THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO GO ABOUT IT."

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Stessel says that the strike is actually counterproductive to the common goal between Amtrak and the unions.

He says that this action will actually alienate current Amtrak supporters on Capitol Hill.

From the State Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.

Date:9/30/03

By: Stephanie Hockridge

State Capital Bureau

Amtrak representatives say that an employee walkout will not solve the train company's funding problems and that alternative measures should be considered.

Stephanie Hockridge has the story.

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Amtrak unions say they plan to strike on Oct. 3 if more funding is not pledged.

But Amtrak Spokesmen Dan Stessel says that the strike is actually counterproductive and that a different approach should be taken.

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"WE AGREE THAT AMTRAK DOES NOT RECEIVE ENOUGH MONEY FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. WE AGREE THAT THE RAILROAD IS IN A STATE OF DISREPAIR AND NEEDS TO BE REPAIRED, AND THAT TAKES FEDERAL INVESTMENT. BUT THE WAY TO GO ABOUT IT IS TO MAKE AN INTELLIGENT CASE, TO OUTLINE EXACTLY WHAT YOU PLAN TO DO WITH THE MONEY AND THEN BE GOOD STEWARDS OF THAT MONEY ONCE YOU RECEIVE IT."

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Stessel says the strike will actually alienate current Amtrak supporters on Capitol Hill rather than help solve the funding problem.

But union representatives say they hope the strike will show how vital railroads are to the economy.

From the State Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.

Date:9/30/03

By: Stephanie Hockridge

State Capital Bureau

A planned strike could bring Amtrak's trains to a halt.

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Amtrak unions say they plan to strike Friday if more funding is not pledged.

For Missouri residents, this could mean no more trips between St. Louis and Kansas City.

But Amtrak officials say they hope a temporary restaining order will keep the workers on the job.

MoDOT's Sharon Dashtaki says that an injunction against the strike is likely.

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"AMTRAK WILL NOT ALLOW THIS STRIKE TO TAKE PLACE. AMTRAK'S LAWYERS ARE READY TO HAVE AN INJUNCTION ISSUED BEFORE OCT. 3 TO CANCEL THE IMPENDING STRIKE."

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But union representatives say the strike is important to show how vital railroads are to the economy and how underfunded they have been.

From the state Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.