Amtrak deal averts strike
(01/18/08) WASHINGTON (AP) - Amtrak has reached a deal with its union averting a possible strike at the end of this month. People familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the deal adopts the recommendations of a presidential emergency board issued December 30th. A meeting to finalize the agreement is scheduled for today in Washington, D.C. Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said he did not have any information to release. Calls to Joel Parker of the Transportation Communications International Union, were not immediately returned. However, another union official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed there was a deal. The strike would have shutdown Manhattan's Penn Station, because Amtrak manages the tracks and signals. There has never been a strike in Amtrak's 36-year history. The dispute involved about 10,000 employees whose last contract ended December 31st, 1999. The presidential board recommended that wage increases be made retroactive. But Amtrak is worried about how it will afford the back pay.