Amtrak Eyeing Forced Furloughs

Amtrak is expected to furlough an unspecified number of employees after more than 500 workers agreed to accept a buyout offer.

Spokeswoman Christina Leeds told Trains magazine that the buyouts were “not enough to achieve the cost savings we are going to need in fiscal 2021.”

She said Amtrak management is evaluating which management positions it wants to eliminate and it is “very likely” that some union workers will be furloughed.

Amtrak said that 4,369 of its employees were eligible for a one-time payment if they agreed to leave the company.

The buyouts to 284 union workers and 227 managers will average about $33,000 apiece.

Leeds said that puts the total expenditure for buyouts at $16.83 million.

Trains said it obtained an internal company list that showed the breakdown by position of those taking buyouts.

It included 357 in the operations; 37 in administration; 22 in information technology; 17 in safety, health, and environmental; 15 in finance; 15 in human resources; seven in general counsel and corporate secretary; five in strategy and planning; and two in government affairs and corporate communications.

The degree of further furloughs could hinge on how much money Amtrak receives from Congress for fiscal year 2021, which begins Oct. 1.

The House of Representatives has approved a budget bill appropriating $10.05 billion for Amtrak with the proviso that no workers be laid off and that long distance trains now operating daily would continue to do so.

The Senate has yet to act on that bill and given how past appropriations have played out Congress may pass one or more continuing resolutions to keep the federal government operating in the next fiscal year until it reaches agreement on appropriations.

It is unclear what a continuing resolution, which typically funds government programs at the level approved in the past fiscal year, would mean for Amtrak’s workforce and the operation of long distance trains.

Amtrak has said it expects revenue in fiscal year 2021 to be 50 percent of what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

It cited that for planning to furlough 20 percent of its workforce and to reduce most long distance trains to tri-weekly operation.

Trains also reported that on July 14 Amtrak implemented a management restructuring whereby all operating, government affairs, and revenue-generating departments now report to CEO William Flynn through Stephen Gardner, executive vice president and chief operating and commercial officer.

Directly reporting to Flynn will be officers in charge of safety, finance, human resources, legal, and information.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: