Posts Tagged ‘furloughs’

Amtrak Plans to Furlough Workers

September 2, 2020

Amtrak plans to furlough 1,950 unionized workers in federal fiscal year 2021, which begins on Oct. 1.

Trains magazine reported that the intercity passenger carrier also plans to end 100 management jobs.

Most of those being furloughed are on-board service employees who will no longer be needed after Amtrak reduces the frequency of most long-distance trains to tri-weekly in October.

Those 698 workers are represented by the Amtrak Service Workers Council.

Other planned furloughs include 509 employees represented by SMART-TD, 390 workers represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, 326 employees represented by the Transportation Communications Union, and 27 employees represented by the American Railway and Airway Supervisors Association.

Those employees are based in Los Angeles (236 workers), Chicago (171 workers) and Seattle (129) among other cities.

Amtrak said the furloughs could increase or decrease by as much as 2 percent once its operating plan is worked out.

The furloughed workers will continue to receive medical benefits paid by Amtrak until they are recalled or through Sept. 30, 2021, if they are not.

Managers who are being laid off are to be notified on Sept. 16.

Earlier this year Amtrak offered voluntary buyouts as part of an effort to reduce its workforce by 20 percent.

It warned at that time that involuntary furloughs would be imposed to make up the difference between the number of involuntary buyouts and the number of workers that the carrier wanted to reach.

Amtrak Eyeing Forced Furloughs

July 28, 2020

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.