Cleveland) – More than 100 members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen struck the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway at 5:00 am Friday.

Spokesman John Bentley says they’re protesting the “railroad's repudiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreements that cover the two operating crafts.”

Bentley says picket lines were posted at seven primary WLE terminals in Ohio and Pennsylvania, shutting down the entire railroad's operation.

"We were forced to take this action in defense of our contracts," said General Chairman Bob Linsey. "Specifically, the Carrier has used management officials to perform the work of bargaining unit employees, namely locomotive engineers and conductors. In defiance of the union's warnings, the Carrier has also recently ignored longstanding crew consist agreements and operated single-person operations in an effort to eliminate Trainmen. To make matters worse, it's done this after serving bargaining proposals to eliminate the restrictions, an outright admission that it presently has no right to operate this way."

According to the W&LER website, they are the largest railroad based in Ohioand among the largest regional railroads in the Country. The service area is concentrated in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, includes 840 miles of track running from Toledo to Hagerstown, Maryland.

The union says the strike locations are: Akron, Brewster, Canton, Carey, Hartland, and Mingo Junction, Ohio and in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, at the Rook Yard.

 Get breaking news sent to your mobile phone. Text "news" to 21095.

(Copyright © 2013 by Clear Channel, all rights reserved.)