All Dressed up with Nowhere to Go?

Hundreds of Wisconsin families lined up for free tours of Talgo’s IAM-built passenger rail cars during a recent Open House event at the company’s Milwaukee rail yard. 

More than 1,000 enthusiastic rail fans attended an Open House at the Talgo train facility in Milwaukee, WI to get a first-hand look at the shiny new passenger cars built in Wisconsin by IAM members. The state-of-the-art trains, however, may never leave the station if Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature have their way.

The trains, which were ordered by former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and slated to run on Amtrak’s Hiawatha line between Madison and Milwaukee, are being mothballed by Walker as part of a radical right-wing campaign that included the rejection of $810 million in federal money to upgrade the popular passenger line.

Walker also oversaw the state cancellation of a $116 million maintenance contract with Talgo, a move that will trigger layoffs and could force the train maker to abandon its Wisconsin manufacturing operations entirely.

Last month, a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed Wisconsin was the only state in the nation that had “statistically significant” job losses over the past 12 months. The state lost 23,900 jobs from March 2011 to March 2012.

“Walker’s decision to kill the Talgo maintenance contract is another example of a hostile political agenda that hurts the entire state of Wisconsin,” said District 10 Business Representative Don Griffin. “And it’s another reason why the recall effort is so important for Wisconsin’s economic future.”

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