Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak workers’

Amtrak Planning to Cut Size of its Police Force

May 8, 2019

The labor union representing Amtrak police officers is warning that the passenger carrier intends to cut the force by 20 percent over the next three years.

The union said Amtrak Police Chief Neil Trugman told it that the force would be reduced from 452 to 369 by 2022.

The reduction will apparently be achieved through attrition and no layoffs are being planned.

However, William Gonzalez, president of Amtrak’s Fraternal Order of Police, said that retirements alone will not enable the carrier to reach its stated goal.

He also said the staff cuts “will jeopardize the safety and security for the passengers and employees.”

An Amtrak spokesman said the company is “currently evaluating the deployment of our Amtrak Police Department staff to ensure we have appropriate staffing levels for the safety and security of our customers as employees.”

The spokesman said Amtrak expects, though to increase the presence of officers on board trains.

Beech Grove Job Cuts May be Coming

April 26, 2019

In the wake of the Indiana legislature’s decision to cease funding the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State, Amtrak is hinting that it may lay off workers at its Beech Grove shops in suburban Indianapolis.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said 500 jobs at Beech Grove could be a risk if Amtrak is only able to shuttle equipment to and from the shops on the three days a week that the Cardinal operates through Indianapolis.

The Indiana General Assembly on the recommendation of Gov. Eric Holcomb declined to renew the $3 million annual funding the state has been providing to Amtrak to operate the Hoosier State four days a week.

The legislature finalized the budget for the next two years earlier this week.

The Cardinal operates three days a week between Chicago and New York and serves all stations at which the Hoosier State stops.

However, an Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman defended ending Hoosier State funding.

“The Hoosier State has the lowest ridership and highest taxpayer subsidy per ticket sold of all Amtrak state sponsored routes,” said Scott Manning. “Today, ridership is stagnant. As a result of the low number of users, INDOT and local governments subsidize about 75 percent of the cost of each ticket sold on the Hoosier State. This does not represent a good value to Hoosier taxpayers.”

State funding of the Hoosier State will end on June 30. The train also receives $500,000 annually contributed by communities that it serves.

Amtrak earlier announced the Hoosier State will be suspended on July 1.

WISH-TV in Indianapolis quoted Beech Grove employee Danny Groves as saying that once the Hoosier State ends much of the shop’s work load will go away.

“Beech Grove was built around this [rail] yard. We know each other’s wives. We know each other’s families,” Groves said. “If this happens we’ll only be able to get equipment in three days a week.”

More than 400 people signed a petition asking the legislature to reconsider its decision to end funding of the Hoosier State.

Amtrak has faced before the situation that it is poised to have if the Hoosier State is discontinued.

In September 1995, the Hoosier State was eliminated in a route restructuring, leaving the tri-weekly Cardinal as Amtrak’s only service to Indianapolis.

It ferried equipment to and from Beech Grove via the Cardinal, which has operated as a tri-weekly train since January 1982.

Amtrak has also used a weekly “hospital” trains to move equipment between Chicago and Beech Grove.

But that train was subject to delay on host railroad CSX and crews sometimes had to halt due to having reached their limits under the federal hours of service law.

Amtrak cited delays to the Cardinal from switching equipment in and out in Indianapolis for resurrecting the Hoosier State in July 1998.

One difference between then and now is that a federal law adopted since then now makes state and local governments responsible for paying most of the costs of trains operating less than 750 miles.

That law precludes Amtrak assuming full funding of the Hoosier State.

But Beech Grove’s future at Amtrak was already tenuous before the Indiana legislature declined to continue funding it.

During a Congressional hearing in February Amtrak President Richard Anderson said that although Amtrak had no plans to close Beech Grove or reduce its workforce, its role at Amtrak was subject to change.

“Over time, we have to re-fleet the Amtrak rolling stock,” Anderson said, “. . . and over the longer term we have to figure out where we are going to do our maintenance work. I think the footprint is going to change over time because we’re moving to more modern equipment.”

Amtrak Workers Protest Outsourcing

April 25, 2019

Three Chicago area Congressmen joined Amtrak workers on Wednesday for a rally to protest what the workers have described as “a hostile turn” in labor relations.

Reps. Dan Lipikski, Chuy Garcia and Jan Schakowsky appeared at a Unite Here rally conducted by the Transportation Communications Union and the Transport Workers Union.

The unions are decrying Amtrak’s decision to outsource work and proposals by the Trump administration to reduce Amtrak funding, particularly for long-distance routes.

Amtrak Workers Contend Jobs in Jeopardy.

October 11, 2018

The union representing Amtrak food service workers believes that as many as 1,700 of its members may lose their jobs if Amtrak outsources its food service to a contractor.

Some of the union workers protested that prospect during a rally outside New York’s Penn Station this week.

Transport Workers Union International President John Samuelsen said Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson is “engaged in a slash-and-burn management plan.”

The approximately 100 Amtrak workers also decried Amtrak’s replacement of full-service dining aboard the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited with boxed meals, most of them served cold.

Amtrak acknowledged in a statement that it has cut 14 chef positions, but that all those affected who wanted another position with Amtrak were able to get one.

The Amtrak statement also contended that the change in meal service aboard the Lake Shore and Capitol has been well received by passengers.

Amtrak Offering Managers, Employees Buyouts

October 27, 2017

Amtrak is offering a buyout of managers and employees not covered by a union contract.

Employees must have been with the company for at least a year and must declare their intention to take it between Nov. 6 and 17.

Those approved for the buyout will leave their post by Dec. 31 although some workers may be asked to stay for a transition period.

The buyouts will be paid in a lump sum ranging from $15,000, up to a maximum of two weeks gross pay for each year of service, up to 26 weeks gross pay.

Amtrak has indicated that it is trying to reduce its employment count and if not enough employees agree to a buyout it will lay off employees starting in January.

All employees taking buyouts or who are laid off are expected to be gone from Amtrak by the end of January.

Amtrak to Transfer Half of Denver Crew Base

January 21, 2017

In what is being framed as a cost-cutting move, Amtrak is moving 21 train operating positions from Denver to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Feb. 1.

amtrak-california-zephyrAmtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the passenger carrier expects to save almost $1 million annually by making the move although he declined to explain how that will be the case.

Magliari said all of the affected employees are conductors and engineers. If all of the workers agree to transfer, none of them will lose their jobs or their work seniority.

They are assigned to the Chicago-San Francisco Bay California Zephyr. Magliari said it will take 90 days for the train crew members being transferred to become fully qualified.

The move will bring to 44 the number of Amtrak employees in Nebraska, all of them based in Lincoln or Omaha.

Earlier, Amtrak had moved its crew base in Omaha to Lincoln, which Amtrak said was to cut costs and make for a more efficient operation.

Denver-based Amtrak employees who elect not to transfer to Lincoln will be given the opportunity to transfer elsewhere on the Amtrak system without losing their seniority.

If not enough Denver-based workers agree to move to Nebraska, Magliari said Amtrak will open those positions to others within the Amtrak work force.

The changes will cut the number of workers at the Denver crew base in half.

Amtrak will continue to base conductors and engineers in Denver to operate Nos. 5 and 6 between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado.