May 29, 2018
Contact: John Feltz (732) 567-5262
Amtrak Service Workers Council Denounces Dining Car Service Cuts
Transport Workers Union, UNITE-HERE, TCU-IAM
The Amtrak Service Workers Council (ASWC) denounces Amtrak’s plan to cut dining car service from the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited routes, beginning Friday June 1. We pledge to do everything in our power to preserve these jobs and the unique Amtrak dining experience. With as little as nine-day notice, seven chefs represented by the Transport Workers Union of America received furlough letters, giving them a little more than a week to make a major life decision. The move also threatens jobs and pensions from coast-to-coast.
Due to this sudden decision, our members will be forced out of work, and some will be faced with the difficult decision of whether to uproot their lives, to relocate and exercise their seniority to replace ASWC members working other routes. For example, there are ASWC members with 30 years of service living on the east coast who may be forced to move to Seattle or Chicago just to complete the career they started decades ago. Therefore, it is certain that closing dining cars on these routes will have immediate and ripple effects on Amtrak workers across the country, not only those employed on the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited lines.
Adding salt to the wound, Amtrak’s offer of “contemporary and fresh dining choices” for sleeping car customers is nothing more than a cold snack in a cardboard box being delivered to passengers in their rooms. Riders are paying close to $1,000 a ticket, only to be fed yogurt and sandwiches? We have been told by our members that passengers already are expressing their dissatisfaction with the upcoming service and meal plan changes.
Our members are on the frontlines, and they know that passengers view the current dining service as part of the experience of riding a train through the country along a long-distance route. Our members are proud to provide this service and care about its quality because they understand that it contributes to passengers’ experience. Maintaining the current high-quality service is important to attracting passengers to Amtrak, and it’s central to our members’ livelihoods.
We demand Amtrak President Richard Anderson reverse his decision and stops these cuts.
John R. Feltz, Vice Chairman ASWC, International Vice President, Railroad Division Director, TWU
Donald Boyd, Chairman ASWC, Secretary Treasurer Local 43, UNITE-HERE
Jack Dinsdale, Vice Chairman ASWC, National Vice President, TCU-IAM