updated 1/22/2011 10:55:55 AM ET 2011-01-22T15:55:55

A union representing nearly 4,000 employees of the Canadian National Railway Co., operator of one of North America's biggest railroads, plans to strike beginning Tuesday if it can't agree on a new labor contract with management.

The company said Saturday that the Canadian Auto Workers union gave notice that its members will strike without a new deal. The two sides have been bargaining since September. The previous contract expired Dec. 31.

Canadian National said the Tuesday deadline should give it enough time to reach an agreement. The company said it has contingency plans for operating the railroad should the auto workers union strike.

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