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Tuesday, March 19, 2013    

Amtrak elects Coscia chair, reaches tentative agreement with UTU


Amtrak's board has elected Anthony Coscia chairman and Jeffrey Moreland, vice chairman, the railroad announced yesterday.

An Amtrak board member since June 2010 and current chairman of its Audit and Finance Committee, Coscia succeeds Thomas Carper, whose term expires this month. Coscia is a partner in the law firm of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf L.L.P., and formerly was chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Since joining Amtrak's board, Coscia has supported investments in the U.S. national rail network. In particular, he has been a "strong advocate" for improving rail corridors that connect major urban areas, such as the Northeast, and connect areas underserved by other modes of transit, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement. Coscia also has supported upgrading rail infrastructure to support trains traveling at higher speeds.

"As chairman, I am committed to increasing ridership, strengthening Amtrak's operational performance and improving its financial position," Coscia said. "Over the many years that I have been involved in infrastructure, and especially over my last three years on Amtrak's board, I have come to recognize that passenger rail is vital to America's economic growth and to addressing our nation's growing need for mobility and connectivity."

As vice chairman, Moreland will succeed Nancy Naples. He has served on Amtrak's board since June 2010, and chairs its Government Affairs and Legal and Corporate Affairs Committee. His experience includes a long career at BNSF Railway Co., where he held several senior management positions in law and government affairs, most recently executive vice president for public affairs.

Meanwhile, three United Transportation Union (UTU)/SMART general committees representing 2,300 Amtrak workers have reached a contract with the railroad, the union announced yesterday.

The parties began negotiations in 2010, but eventually a federal mediator was assigned to help the parties work out differences. The mediator ultimately was successful in moving the two sides to a satisfactory conclusion, UTU-SMART Assistant President John Previsich said in a prepared statement.

The tentative agreements have yet to be approved by affected members. Ratification ballots must be returned by April 10.

The proposed agreements follow the pattern of pay increases and health and welfare modifications reached by other organizations in earlier settlements, UTU officials said.

"In addition, the parties were successful in resolving the difficult issue of financial recognition for the increased obligations and rule modifications that are required by federal certification of conductors," Previsich said.

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