Amtrak to layoff 1,000, cut long distance routes

Amtrak President George Warrington announced on January 31 that Amtrak will eliminate 300 management positions and 700 agreement positions in an effort to boost the railroad's bottom line.

The layoffs are expected to cut Amtrak's operating costs by $110 million. The railroad will also eliminate discretionary spending and will reduce capitol spending by $175 million. Amtrak said that while it is not cutting routes at this time, it may have to cut some long distance routes in the near future.

The 300 management positions represent about 10 percent of the current management workforce. Approximately 100 mangers will face immediate layoff while the remaining 200 will receive 4-6 weeks notice. The 700 agreement positions represent about four percent of Amtrak's unionized workforce, and the cuts will come primarily from the shop crafts.

Under pressure from government regulators to become operationally self-sufficient by 2002, Amtrak has suffered from increased costs because of the September 11 attacks. Amtrak has increased its security costs by $16.5 million because of the terrorist threat.

In addition, the Amtrak Reform Council's report, which calls for the dismantling of Amtrak, has resulted in a loss of business for the railroad. Amtrak says it has lost $52 million due to the ARC's report, which has scared away investors and other business partners.

Amtrak will need $1.2 billion to fund its operations in Fiscal Year 2003.

BLE International President Don M. Hahs says that he believes the cuts are a direct result of years of under-funding from Congress and the ill-conceived actions of the Amtrak Reform Council.

On February 4, Amtrak released the following list of routes that may be cut if Congress does not provide the $1.2 billion in funding necessary for the railroad to maintain current service levels:

 

2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers