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Court order averts strike against Union Pacific railroad

CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) -- In the twelfth hour, Union Pacific used a temporary restraining order to halt a strike by 8,000 of its employees set to begin Saturday morning.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers decided to strike at 12:01 a.m. EST Saturday morning over a dispute with Union Pacific over new qualification standards for personal leave days for engineers. The standards were imposed after the first of the year.

Edward Dubroski, international president of the union, said the strike was "something we were forced to do," saying that the railroad's imposition of new working conditions defies the Railway Labor Act, which says such changes in working conditions can not be made without notice and providing both sides an opportunity to negotiate.

Union Pacific, however, defended its position. In a telephone interview with CNN, John Bromley, the railroad's director of public affairs, said Union Pacific was seeking a court order to end the strike.

Bromley said the strike was "completely unanticipated" and considers the dispute to be "minor."

Union Pacific has 38,654 miles of track nationwide that stretch over 23 states. In total, the railroad has 51,905 employees.

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