Yesterday, TCU/IAM members from Amtrak’s Riverside call center rallied to save their jobs. Well over 100 people turned out to the Wednesday morning protest to show their outrage with Amtrak’s management and their short-sighted decision to eliminate 500+ jobs in Riverside, and send their work to a non-union, low-wage outsourcer in Florida.
TCU National Vice President Jack Dinsdale led the rally in front of Riverside’s City Hall, telling members not to give up, that TCU and IAM’s legislative teams in Washington are working hard to pressure Amtrak to keep these jobs in Riverside. “What Amtrak’s President Richard Anderson is doing is nothing more than union-busting – plain and simple,” said Dinsdale. “Some elected officials seem to understand that, and it’s up to them to tell Amtrak that’s not ok.”
“These employees – and this union for that matter – have spent their careers and resources dedicated to Amtrak, and to seeing it succeed,” said Dinsdale. “So if Anderson wants to go the low-road labor route, betray these employees, and outsource their work, maybe it’s time we find someone else to run these trains…someone that treats workers with the dignity they deserve.”
Congressman Takano and NVP Ron Kloos host Facebook Live Conversation
At the same time as the rally in Riverside, Congressman Mark Takano (D, CA-41) held a live conversation on Facebook with TCU National Vice President Ron Kloos in Washington, DC. Rep. Takano has been working diligently to save these jobs since he first
found out about the announced closure back in November, and he challenged workers in Riverside to keep up the fight, and to “organize, not agonize.”
Congressman Takano is currently getting final signatures on a bipartisan letter that includes 38 of his colleagues from California’s congressional delegation, demanding that Amtrak immediately reverse their decision and keep the call center open. The Members of Congress cite California’s robust financial support for Amtrak, both through their state-supported services as well as long-distance routes.
Rep. Calvert scolds Amtrak
TCU/IAM members also received support from Republican Congressman Ken Calvert (R, CA-42), whose district is home to many of the call center employees. Rep. Calvert penned a strong letter to Amtrak President & CEO Richard Anderson questioning his stated reasoning for closing the call center: “If call volumes are low and cuts are necessary, cutting ties with the third-party call center should be the obvious first step. Forcing over 500 employees to choose between losing their jobs or uprooting their families to move across the country should be your last resort.”
Congressman Calvert went further in demanding that Amtrak keep the facility open until at least July, 2019, to at least allow Congress time to assess the issue and give employees adequate time to make life-changing decisions.