U.S./Tijuana rail freight service slowed by labor dispute
Rail freight service between the California southern border town of Tecate and Tijuana, Mexico, was cut in half Wednesday by a labor dispute between the U.S. firm that manages the rail line and the Mexican subcontractor that operates it.
The dispute began when El Cajon-based Carrizio Gorge Railway Inc., which has a contract with the Mexican Baja California government to run the line, decided to sever its relationship with the Mexican subcontractor actually operating the service, Ferrocarriles Peninsulares del Noroeste.
Mexican workers for FPN did not know about the severing of the Carrizio contract until they showed up for work on Wednesday. They were offered work with Carrizio's new subcontractor Carrizo Gorge de Mexico. Instead, the FPN employees left, taking with them critical documents that in turn led to the slowdown.
About 13 cars, or half the daily traffic, were affected by the slowdown, though Carrizio expected to be back up to full service shortly.
According to FPN, Carrizio's switch to the new subcontractor violates Mexican labor law that protects employees from being terminated without compensation.
Carrizio countered by saying that FPN knew of the impending change for months.
As of Thursday, only a small group of FPN employees had made the switch to the new subcontractor and Carrizio said it may have to start looking for new employees to fill the ranks.
The rail line delivers liquefied petroleum gas, wood and other products from the United States to markets in Mexico.