Digest: VIA announces managerial layoffs

News Wire Digest fourth section for July 31: Portugal rail crash kills two; unions call on Congress to provide funding for MTA
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Friday afternoon rail news:

VIA to lay off 30 managerial employees

VIA Rail Canada will lay off 30 managerial employees as of Aug. 14, adding to earlier cuts that saw 1,000 employees laid off earlier in July. The cuts reflect the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the passenger carrier’s operations. The layoffs are in addition to 50 positions that are currently vacant and will not be filled. “We are making difficult decisions to lessen the financial impact and safeguard the funds we have been allocated,” Cynthia Garneau, VIA president and CEO, said in a news release. “I realize that this is a very difficult situation for affected employees and their families, and we look forward to calling them back once the recovery is underway.”

Two killed in Portugal when high speed train hits maintenance equipment
Two people were killed and at least 37 injured as a high speed train collided with maintenance-of-way equipment in Portugal earlier today. Irish public broadcaster RTE reports 212 passengers were aboard the train when the accident happened in the town of Soure, about 20 miles from the central city of Coimbra. The two people killed were maintenance workers; the train’s driver was among seven seriously injured.

New York unions call for financial aid for MTA
A group of New York transit and labor unions are calling on Congress to provide almost $4 billion in emergency funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the coronavirus stimulus bill being considered by the Senate. The New York Daily News reports representatives of labor groups including the Transport Workers Union and New York State AFL-CIO have written Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate Minority Leader, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), asking them to fight for the inclusion of funds in the coronavirus relief bill. While the relief bill passed by the House includes transit funding, legislation proposed by Senate Republicans does not [see “Digest: Transit group decries Senate Republicans’ virus relief package,” July 28, 2020].

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