Amtrak Agreement Update – Still Time to Vote

Just a little over a week to go. Get your ballot in. Ballots are due by February 27, 2018. Any member who has not received a ballot should contact TCUTA@tcunion.org. In order to be received by the deadline of February 27, ballots can be returned via email or fax to TCU. Thousands upon thousands of dollars are at stake. Everyone should carefully review the ratification package and vote.

Cick here to read the Clerical Ratification Package.

Click here to read the Carman Ratification Package.

Click here to read the On-Board Service Workers Ratification Package.

Click here to read the ARASA MoW Ratification Package.

Click here to read the ARASA MoE Ratification Package.

Click here to read the ARASA OBS Ratification Package.

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Trump budget guts Amtrak long distance…again

Source: NARP.org

For the second year in a row, President Trump’s budget calls for Amtrak funding to be cut in half. This year’s budget again asks to cut funding from the current $1.495 billion to $738 million in FY19.

And though the math is the same, the Administration’s goals have apparently changed. Last year’s budget simply called for eliminating long-distance trains all together, while this year’s budget proposes that States cover the cost of long-distance routes.

It’s not hard to see potential problems with asking many conservative states in the middle of the country to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Amtrak. Traditionally, this is why we have a federal government: to provide and invest in public services like interstate passenger rail service.

Source: NARP.org

It’s also just not how passenger railroads work.

Let’s suppose that Montana decided it didn’t want to pay for Amtrak, and therefore Amtrak decides not to stop there. It saves Amtrak little-to-no money by not stopping, since it still has to pay costs for fuel, crews, and track to travel through. It also undermines service quality because they wouldn’t pick up or drop off any passengers in Montana.

And again, unlike airplanes, Amtrak trains are already traveling through the state, so it’s silly to set up a system in which States can simply opt out.

Amtrak long-distance trains employ thousands of TCU members, all of whom know firsthand how vital the service is that Amtrak provides. If Amtrak’s long-distance service were eliminated, thousands could lose their jobs, while 220 communities would lose a primary transportation service. 

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Amtrak will suspend service if PTC not installed by year’s end

Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson testifying on February 15th to House Railroads Subcommittee hearing on PTC implementation.

On Thursday, Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson told the House Railroads Subcommittee that they will suspend service on certain lines if Positive Train Control (PTC) is not installed and ready. Anderson did not specify which lines may be suspended, and an Amtrak spokesperson later confirmed that “it’s too early to speculate,” according to the Seattle Times

The news came during Thursday’s hearing on Capitol Hill that focused on PTC’s implementation status – a safety technology first

Railroads Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA) at hearing on PTC implementation.

mandated by Congress in 2008, and for which railroads have been granted two subsequent deadline extensions. Railroads Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA) communicated the bipartisan frustration of Congress, and chastised certain passenger railroads that haven’t bothered to apply for grants and loans already available.

The status of PTC has been hot in the press lately as Amtrak has suffered consecutive accidents that PTC could’ve prevented. Many rail labor advocates take a wary approach to PTC, however, with concerns that the technology and its deployment costs will be used as an excuse by railroads to further eliminate jobs, and/or ask greater concessions from rail workers at the bargaining table.

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