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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak workers rally to call on Congress to preserve jobs

Of the nearly 2,000 unionized Amtrak workers targeted by the cuts, 1,225 are members of the BLET, SMART-TD, TCU rail labor unions.
Photo – Amtrak


Unionized Amtrak workers, led by rail labor organizations, today will rally in Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles to urge members of Congress to provide emergency funding to Amtrak to prevent planned cuts to service and its workforce. 

Earlier this month, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer William Flynn called for $5 billion in emergency funding to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. If no additional funding is provided by the federal government, Amtrak has announced impending cuts, effective Oct. 1, of 1,950 unionized employees and a planned reduction of service.

Of the unionized workers targeted by the cuts, 1,225 are members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and Transportation Communications International Union (TCU), BLET officials said in a press release.

“Placing the burden of the pandemic's effects on all of these essential workers who faithfully kept the service running during this ongoing national emergency is absolutely wrong. Job cuts are not the cure,” the BLET, SMART-TD and TCU union presidents said in a joint statement.

Members of the BLET, SMART-TD, TCU and other local unions today will gather outside the U.S. Capitol, in front of Penn Station in New York City, near Union Station in Chicago and in front of Union Station in Los Angeles.

Earlier this week, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled a new $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that includes $32 billion in emergency funding for Amtrak and transit agencies. The House will consider the proposed bill later this week.