Amtrak announced yesterday that it plans to furlough 1,950 union represented employees beginning October 1st. A stalemate on Capitol Hill continues for the next coronavirus relief package. Democrats in the House have already passed multiple bills to avert economic catastrophe, including $10 billion for Amtrak, but Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to prevent these bills from being brought up for a vote.
TCU National President Artie Maratea is expected to testify next Wednesday, September 9th before the House Railroads, Pipelines & HazMat Subcommittee to discuss Amtrak’s Response to COVID-19. President Maratea will testify regarding the ongoing challenges TCU members face on the job and the dire need for adequate funding to provide the much needed employee protections. (You can view that here)
“The stakes have never been higher. Thousands of good paying union jobs are at risk. Immediate action is needed to provide necessary relief for Amtrak and job protection for our members. We are calling on Congress to pass a relief bill that addresses these concerns and we are calling on Amtrak to abandon its plan for these drastic cuts” said President Maratea.
House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D, Oregon) and Railroads Subcommittee Chair Dan Lipinski (D, Illinois) released a statement criticizing Amtrak’s furlough announcement. “Amtrak’s announcement that they will furlough over 2,000 employees is disappointing and unacceptable…. These workers deserve better from Amtrak leadership. Congress needs to act quickly to prevent furloughs and avoid long distance service cuts,” said Chairman Lipinski.
In May, Amtrak released a $1.47 billion grant proposal that included cutting its workforce by as much as 20% while at the same time ending daily service on most long-distance routes. The announcement received major backlash from both stakeholders and Capitol Hill. Amtrak is expected to make a formal funding request to Congress in the coming days that would enable the railroad to retain the workforce and continue train frequencies.
Those who are furloughed will have their medical benefits covered by Amtrak until they are recalled or until Sept. 30, 2021.
Click here to take action and tell Congress to fund Amtrak!
Click here to read a release from the TTD.