House Republicans Launch Full-Scale Attack on Rail Workers

The proposed funding levels from House Republican lawmakers would be completely devastating to railroad workers, rail safety, and railroad retirees. The bills propose to gut Amtrak and transit agencies, as well as the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), among others.

Click here for TCU/IAM’s full summary of the House Republican proposed budget cuts affecting rail workers.

TAKE ACTION: Please call your House Representative today at 202-224-3121 and tell them to oppose any cuts to our nation’s railroads.
“These proposed funding levels are a slap in the face to railroaders – there’s no other way to put it,” said TCU/IAM National President Artie Maratea. “Our members and the American people expect our government to be responsive to their needs. But if these funding levels are enacted, it’s hard to imagine government functioning at all. The bills leave little unscathed – rail safety, Amtrak, transit/commuter, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), and the NLRB all are deeply gutted by this proposal.”
The House Republican funding proposals cut far deeper than the recently-enacted bipartisan budget agreement that was negotiated between President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy. That agreement was the product of intense talks that saw our country nearly default on its debt. Unfortunately, House Republicans have chosen to abandon their own agreement and propose far deeper cuts instead.

“Elections have consequences, and House Republicans are showing us exactly what they think of our nation’s rail workers,” said Josh Hartford, IAM Special Assistant to the International President for the IAM Rail Division. “The IAM Rail Division is determined to beat back these draconian cuts to our nation’s rail system, its workers and passengers.”

Low-lights of the House Republican Proposed Budget bills:

  • Amtrak – $876 million – a 64% cut.By Amtrak’s estimates, 10,000 employees would be furloughed if these funding levels were to take effect – including many thousands of TCU members. Service would extremely restricted on both the Northeast Corridor and the National Network (Long-distance and State-Supported).
    • The record funding provided to Amtrak in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was expressly provided to Amtrak to purchase new rolling stock, perform a massive backlog of maintenance work, and help spur the development of new routes. None of the Infrastructure law’s funds can be used for annual operating expenses, which includes the continuation of existing services. This proposed figure would largely dismantle the Amtrak network and result in mass furloughs for Amtrak’s TCU members.
  • Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) $103 million – a 30% cut.The proposed funding level for the RRB would force the agency to make drastic cuts to their headcounts, which include Customer Service personnel, field office staff, and claims agents. For reference, the RRB’s backlog for processing disability claims is currently a year behind. If this budget were to become law, railroaders, retirees and their spouses can expect months-long wait times on any issues with the agency – be it retirement, unemployment/sickness, or disability claims.
  • Transit – $18.9 billion – an 11% cut.Just as transit and commuter rail systems are seeing the return of ridership, this budget proposal threatens to stop that progress in its tracks and once again threaten the service of everyday commuters – and the jobs of thousands of transit and commuter employees. Now is not the time to short-change our nation’s transit systems, reduce service, and furlough our pandemic-era heroes.

Please call your House Representative today at 202-224-3121 and tell them to oppose any cuts to our nation’s railroads.

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