Washington, DC — Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement following Amtrak’s announcement of furloughs beginning October 1:
“For more than 40 years, Amtrak — powered by a dedicated and skilled workforce — has provided reliable, efficient passenger rail service to communities across this country. Now, facing a crisis unlike any other in its history, Amtrak has announced plans to lay off nearly 2,000 employees in the midst of a global pandemic — a move that will have devastating consequences for workers, riders, and our economy.
“While catastrophic, these imminent job losses, as well as damaging reductions in long-distance service, are completely avoidable. Congress must immediately provide this carrier with the funding it needs to preserve its operations and keep its employees on payroll. If lawmakers fail to do so, Amtrak won’t stop at 2,000 jobs. The carrier could ultimately lay off nearly 50 percent of its staff, leaving communities in both urban and rural areas without a vital transportation lifeline, and sending 10,000 workers to the unemployment line. “On behalf of Amtrak’s hardworking, dedicated employees and the communities they serve, we call on Congress to save our national passenger railroad, preserve good union jobs at a time when they are needed most, and ensure Amtrak is able to fulfill its mission now and well into the future.”