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The looming threat of an Amtrak rail strike at 12:01 a.m. Friday has forced the University to make contingency plans in the event of a walkout, and left hundreds of University employees wondering how they will get to work tomorrow. Labor unions in contract talks with the rail service originally threatened to strike at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. But when the deadline arrived, the three unions still negotiating with Amtrak agreed to postponed the strike for at least 48 hours. A strike would create severe headaches for employees who normally commute, and could conjest local streets as personnel are forced to drive to the University and find places to park. Faculty, staff and administrators who normally commute to West Philadelphia via Amtrak trains would not be the only employees affected. Because several SEPTA regional rail lines use Amtrak train tracks, many of these trains would be shut down in the event of a strike. New Jersey Transit service would also be affected. A walkout would close both 30th Street Station and Suburban Station. University officials have made some contingency plans in the event of a walkout, and are urging all employees "to make transportation plans in advance of the strike emergency." In a memo circulated this week, William Holland, vice president for Human Resources, and Steven Murray, associate vice president for Business Services, suggested that departments set aside bulletin board space to organize employee car pools. Holland and Murray also suggested that administrators adjust work hours to help employees avoid commutes during snarled rush hour traffic, or on overcrowded buses and packed SEPTA vehicles. Although administrators are being asked to make allowances for employees who are late because of the commuting snafu, the memo said that "business will continue as usual" and unauthorized absences will count as lost time.

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