Published 28 Sep, 2012
Nearly 100 Amtrak workers filled the hearing room on Sept. 20 for the hearing held by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T & I) regarding Amtrak’s operations.
TWU members, Amtrak and freight railroaders, active and retired alike all made their way to Washington, DC on very short notice to demonstrate their opposition to the continuing attacks on Amtrak. This is a strong indicator they understand what is at stake.
Members from TWU Rail Division locals 2015, 2017, 2001, 2054, 1460 stood in unity and solidarity, sending the message that an attack on Amtrak is an attack on its workers and their railroad retirement benefits.
“Our members understand what is at stake, including an adverse impact on the railroad retirement benefits, and we are mobilizing to reject the attacks,” said Gary Maslanka, Rail Division Director.
The members looked on as T&I Committee Chairman John Mica and Railroad Subcommittee Chairman U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-9) continued their privatization attack on Amtrak.
Their agenda, privatize Amtrak’s most profitable Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C., and sell the rest of the system to the highest bidder.
“We need to be here,” said Bob Lewandowski of Local 2015. “ We need to support each other and stay informed about what they want to do to Amtrak.”
A busload of active and retired Local 2017 members from Railroad Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster’s district (Pa-9) sent a clear message. Wearing shirts that read, “ Railroad Worker (PA-9) Railroad Retiree” they showed that an attack on their Amtrak sisters and brothers was an attack on them.
Local 2017’s presence was particularly important. Shuster’s district (PA-9) ranks fifth in the nation, based on the current number of railroad workers and annuitants, covered by railroad retirement.
Amy Griffin, President of Local 1460 was present to learn more about what the T & I intends to do and to make it known that, “We are watching.”
With Amtrak doing better today than at any time in its history, breaking up the system would bankrupt the railway, cost thousands of jobs and defeat the purpose of a national passenger rail system.
TWU members, Amtrak and freight railroaders, active and retired alike all made their way to Washington on very short notice to demonstrate their opposition to the continuing attacks on Amtrak. This is a strong indicator they understand what is at stake.