Rep. Lipinski Issues a Statement on Reports that Amtrak Plans to Eliminate 20% of its Workforce

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials issued the following statement in response to media reports that Amtrak plans to eliminate up to 20% of its workforce: 

“Reports that Amtrak will eliminate up to 20% of its workforce after assurances to the contrary are extremely concerning. This action appears to suggest a continuation of a pattern of misleading statements and mistreatment of workers by Amtrak in recent years. While it is understandable that Amtrak needs additional funding and service flexibility given steep declines in ridership during this crisis, Congress has provided financial assistance to mitigate changes to staffing. After receiving over $1 billion in CARES Act funding, it was my understanding that Amtrak did not plan to furlough any workers due to COVID-19. There are now reports that Amtrak intends to make dramatic cuts to its workforce. It is imperative that Amtrak reverse course with this pattern of disingenuous actions and instead work to be more forthcoming and transparent with Congress and its employees.

“As Chair of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, I have held Amtrak to account for its mistreatment of workers on numerous occasions, including the elimination of call center employees that Amtrak said were no longer needed due to a drop in call volume whom subsequently were replaced by contract workers doing the same work. Given these latest reports about the planned elimination of one-in-five Amtrak employees, recently named Amtrak CEO William Flynn needs to provide a clear explanation of the railroad’s future plans. Mr. Flynn has an opportunity to change the direction Amtrak leadership has pursued in recent years and instead start building a culture of trust and respect within the organization. These workers are essential to providing passengers with the quality of service needed to restore ridership and strengthen Amtrak’s passenger rail service into the future. In April, Mr. Flynn described these employees as the foundation of Amtrak’s success. Attempts to rebuild Amtrak without that foundation in place are almost certain to fail.”

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