Amtrak Board of Directors Issues Report
On April 21, 2005, the Amtrak Board of Directors presented Congress with a report entitled “Strategic Reform Initiatives and FY06 Grant Request.” This report represents an outrageous attack on Amtrak workers, who have always been the backbone of Amtrak and who have continually sacrificed to keep the company alive.
The Amtrak Reform proposed by the Board calls for the elimination or contracting out of on-board food service, janitorial and coach cleaning and certain mechanical operations. It also calls for radical legislative changes to the Railway Labor Act, the Railroad Retirement Act and the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA).
Specifically, the Amtrak Board wants to change the Railway Labor Act to permit the imposition of its desired work rule concessions; composite mechanic, removal of any contractual restrictions on contracting out and many more. Amtrak would have all new employees taken out of the Railroad Retirement system, which would result in a devastating blow to the solvency of railroad retirement for all current rail workers and retirees.
The Board’s call for changes in the Railway Labor Act comes as a result of Amtrak management’s failure to negotiate in good faith. It believes that by changing the Railway Labor Act management will be able to achieve through legislation what it has not achieved through negotiations. In fact in a footnote in the report the Board is so bold as to state, “While Amtrak management is currently negotiating work rule changes with its unions, targeted legislative assistance may be needed if we are unable to successfully conclude those negotiations.”
During a conference call with Chairman of the Board David Laney and President David Gunn, TCU President Bob Scardelletti expressed our outrage at the Board’s proposal. President Scardelletti told the Amtrak officers that TCU will oppose the Board of Director’s proposal with everything that we have.
TCU has joined rail labor through the Transportation Trades Department in calling for the resignation of the Amtrak Board of Directors. President Scardelletti in a letter to the Amtrak Local and District Chairmen stated, “It should come as no surprise to our members that a Board composed entirely of appointees of President Bush would come out with a proposal so harmful to workers’ interests.”
All TCU members both active and retired should email, call and write to their Senators and member of Congress expressing outrage at the Amtrak Board’s proposal and urging the legislators to oppose the so-called Amtrak Reform. Click here to email your Senators and Congressman.