A recent release from the Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO, of which TCU/IAM is a member, points out the troubling issues that are written into the Surface Transportation Bill proposed by Congressman John Mica (R-FL). These points were also echoed in a release from the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP).
If the measures in this bill are passed more than 2000 Amtrak on-board workers will lose their jobs. At a time when Amtrak ridership is at record highs, cuts in services and privatizing those positions will adversely affect service, safety and security on every train.
These hard working middle-class workers are the backbone of the country and enjoy the protection of the Railway Labor Act and Railroad Retirement; privatization will exclude those protections.
The proposed measures will also direct Amtrak appropriations to be used to cover the losses of the private contractor. Basically giving taxpayer dollars to the contractor to cover losses and taking it away from Amtrak at the same time. This measure would be a no-brainer for the contractor…bid on this contract if you can’t make money the taxpayers will give it back to you!
Many other troubling proposals are included from imposing major cuts to Amtrak to making states put any grant funded rail project up for bid and even restricting the outside legal counsel Amtrak can use. It also delays implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on the rail network by five years, to December 31, 2020. Giving the freight railroads the ability to avoid installing PTC on rail lines used to transport toxic and hazardous materials.
This proposal is heavy-handed and full of government mandates that will have no other purpose than gutting Amtrak and putting the entire rail network at risk.
“TCU/IAM will stand with our brothers and sisters in TTD and the NARP to make sure these proposals are not included in the Surface transportation Bill,” said TCU President Bob Scardelletti. “Our members deserve to keep their jobs and the passengers deserve good, reliable service in a safe environment.
Click here to read the release from the TTD.
Click here to read a statement from the National Association of Railroad Passengers.