Amtrak to Close California Reservations Center

Amtrak plans to close a telephone reservation center in Southern California on Jan. 18, 2019, ending the jobs of 550 people employed there.

The carrier told employees in an email message that operations at the California call center will be consolidated in Amtrak’s other call center located in Philadelphia.

However, a union leader told reporters that Amtrak also plans to contract with a third-party company in Florida to take reservation calls.

Sal Rodriguez, president of Local 2511 of the Transportation and Communication Union, said those working for the Florida firm will be paid less than Amtrak pays its own employees.

Rodriguez also argued that workers believe Amtrak misled them by claiming it would only route overflow work to the Florida call center.

As happened when Amtrak removed ticket agents earlier this year from about 20 stations, management cited a decline in the need for the service being ended.

In the email to employees, Amtrak Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Tim Griffin said about 90 percent of Amtrak reservations are made online.

In the past five years, calls to Amtrak reservation centers have fallen by 3 million.

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