November 28, 2022 - The votes are in, the ballots have been tallied and we now have secured a workforce stabilization agreement that raises wages by $5.00 per hour for over 800 positions on the BMWED while increasing the shift differential for everyone by over 75%. This is a landmark agreement that serves BMWED/Amtrak workers well into the future, an envy to our Class I freight counterparts. There were 1016 ballots returned, of which 8 were voided. There were 712 voting in favor and 296 opposed. This Memorandum of Understanding will be implemented once we notify Amtrak of the vote results.
BMWED Lodge 2443 Los Angeles, California on the Amtrak Property
Seated from the left: Vice President/Local Chairman, Tovor Ingram, President, Jorge Munoz, Sec/Tres, Richard Beal Jr.
Standing Left to Right: Antonio Zamano, Larry Hicks, Martin Lopez, Adrian LLerenas, Graham Goss, Vladimir Kogut, Eugene Trevino, Deshawn McDaniel. Missing from Photo: John Powers and Andrew Simon.
November 4, 2022 - Yesterday, the BMWED signed off on a tentative Memorandum of Understanding agreement with Amtrak that would boost the pay of certain positions by $5.00 per hour. This tentative agreement is euphemistically being referred to as the “Lock-In” agreement, in that certain elements of the MOU would require workers to remain in a position for 36 months, to be locked-in. This tentative MOU also boosts the shift differential to 10%. Under the MOU, workers who receive the current $1.00 shift differential would have that differential increased to 10% of their current rate of pay. Another element of this proposed MOU would institute governance for Computer Based Training (CBT) and confine newly hired workers to Division gangs.
This agreement is subject to a ratification vote which will be administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Ballots will be mailed on November 10, 2022 and counted by AAA on November 28, 2022.
Read more and view the tentative MOU Lock-In agreement.
September 20, 2022 - Amtrak's Training Center in Wilmington, Delaware is the subject of our most recent concerns. Legionella bacteria was discovered in the water supply. It has been reported to our offices that one Amtrak employee has died and another was hospitalized after contracting the deadly Legionnaires’ Disease. Amtrak’s response has been questionable. View General Chairman Sessa’s letter to Amtrak here.
July 20, 2022 - General Chairman Sessa addresses the lack of NORAC and other training for maintenance of way workers. In a letter to Amtrak's Vice President Gerry Williams, the shortage of qualified workers was discussed, with specific focus on a recent General Chairperson's meeting. These meetings are attended by various union General Chairmen and by Amtrak management. General Chairman Sessa's letter speaks for itself.
July 18, 2022 - Vice Chairman Renato Rufo’s letter to Amtrak Labor Relations in connection with the railroad’s intentions of contracting out track work across the new Connecticut River Bridge between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.
June 27, 2022 - General Chairman Sessa’s letter to Amtrak’s President and CEO Stephen Gardner regarding forced overtime or mandatory overtime, and the threats and intimidation handed to our members by low level managers who obviously lack skillsets necessary to plan and direct work. Included with the link is Amtrak’s response, a grandiose circle of opinions that culminates with the threat of giving away our maintenance of way work to contractors.
June 10, 2022 - General Chairman Sessa’s letter (1.3mb) to Labor Relations taking formal objection to Amtrak’s plan to contract out simple track repair inside and outside Building #3 at Wilmington Shops. Our B&B forces are expertly experienced in all facets of broken rail repair, including through block tie housings and steel sleepers.
October 14, 2021 - General Chairman Sessa’s letter to Amtrak regarding the establishment of a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day holiday. This discussion addressed the inequality of this holiday observance celebrated by management but denied the workers. Amtrak's Vice President of Human Resources dismisses General Chairman's letter as a note, and passes the buck to Amtrak's Vice President of Labor Relations, who basically challenges the union to bargain for a federally instituted holiday that s been in effect since 1983.
April 21, 2021 - Safety Glasses fogging from COVID masks.
January 1, 2021 - Per Diem adjustment adds $2.00 in lunch money.
September 2, 2020 - Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) issued statements in response to the news that Amtrak will furlough over 2,000 workers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read More here..., T&I Committee site
May 12, 2020 - The BMWED challenges Amtrak with regards to testing workers for COVID-19. Our membership has been deemed as essential to the vitality of Amtrak and service to Amtrak’s passengers. Our position concerning the safety of our members has always been placed at the forefront, and that position is even more unwavering in the face of this life-ending virus. Regrettably Amtrak takes a position more in tune with corporate interests, even considering that inside of 4 short months this pandemic has killed more Americans than were killed in the Vietnam war, and in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. So much is the death and tragedy that on May 24, 2020, the New York Times ran an edition containing the names of all the front-line victims.
View our challenge to Amtrak's procedures followed by Amtrak's response. Let’s all just hold our breath.
April 3, 2020 - Amtrak'sPay Grid for the coronavirus pandemic.
March 20, 2020 - BMWED President Freddie N. Simpson sent official letters today to the country’s largest railroads urging them to protect the safety of their employees during the current global and national pandemic.
Public servants, hospitals, grocery stores and other vital industries and programs need to meet their supply chain demands. We understand and greatly appreciate those efforts. BMWED members, as well as all crafts of Rail Labor, understand their critical roles during this unprecedented emergency.
That said, the BMWED remains committed to the health and safety of our members. We have communicated those to the carrier CEOs and we trust their commitment to their employees – as well as their employees’ families – will be just and fair.
This link contains the letter President Simpson sent to Amtrak.
March 14, 2019 - Rule "G" Bypass Agreement - Resulting from an Amtrak Office of Inspector General report issued March 13, 2019, Amtrak will be discontinuing their Drug and Alcohol Rule “G” bypass agreement with the various crafts. This report titled: “Safety and Security: Opportunities to Improve the Effectiveness of Controls for Detecting Drug and Alcohol - Related Issues of Employees in Safety - Sensitive Positions” (OIG-A-2019-005), makes reference to Amtrak’s failures in Drug and Alcohol testing, including collections, documentation, training and reporting. The bottom line is:
Effective October 1, 2019, employees who provide a positive test result for Drug and Alcohol testing, whether random, reasonable suspicion, CDL/CMV, return to work or other necessitated test, will be immediately discharged from service.
View Amtrak’s announcement here, including a Q+A, and list of restricted medications.
December 20, 2018 - Per Diem - For years our per diem allowance remained stagnate while the cost of living away from home increased. Then in 2011 we were successful in negotiating a per diem rate tied to real and tangible multipliers. Initially those multipliers provided only small adjustments to our per diem. This year federal regulators calculated that the November 2017 Consumer Price Index for Food Away From Home (1982-84=100) for the U.S. City Average for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Employees (CPI-W) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (271.353) increased 2.633% over November 2017 (271.353). The bottom line: Our per diem negotiations continue to bear fruit and our 2019 per diem rate increases by $1.26, from $47.68 to $48.94 View Amtrak's letter.
November 2018 - Hot Spot Book Reprinted - Every member of our Union has the right to refuse to work in unsafe situations without the fear of discipline. We now have a new right to report unsafe conditions, particularly close calls, without the fear of discipline. Our lives literally depend on all members of our Unions sticking together regarding enforcing the rules and reporting problems. We have this responsibility to our co-workers and more importantly to our families who expect us to return home to them alive and well at the end of each work day. Use these rights to stay alive.
Our Hot Spot booklets identifies the hot spots on the railroad and the number of watchmen needed to protect that work area. This book was developed by labor and management to prevent jobs from being started when the requisite manpower was not supplied to properly protect the work area and to eliminate the bickering and arguments about the number of watchmen needed to protect a work area. This book has been reissued and labor and management will put greater reliance on it when setting up protection for work locations.
August 20, 2018 - Voluntary Safety Reporting Policy - The loss of our Brothers and Sister can never be adequately explained. What we can do is resolve to give their deaths meaning by ensuring that every one of us goes home to our families at the end of our tour of duty alive and well. To this end, the three unions have stuck together and engaged Amtrak management to make meaningful safety reform. This required that we overcome our righteous rage and anger at the failed Amtrak policies that led to this tragic state and seek constructive ways to ensure no more deaths.
We are pleased to report that after long, difficult and acrimonious meetings which began several years ago we have reached an agreement with Amtrak over a series of safety reforms which we believe will help prevent future fatalities. They are a New Voluntary Safety Reporting Policy, 60mph slow by’s for work areas, watchman placements, and reaffirmation of the many hot spots. Read More...
April 6, 2018 - the American Arbitration Association began mailing ballots to our membership for deciding acceptance or rejection of our tentative agreement with Amtrak. Ballots will be counted on April 24, 2018 in the offices of American Arbitration Association and the certified results will be published shortly thereafter. View the complete chronology of this round of bargaining on our Amtrak Negotiations page.
April 6, 2018 - Last fall Amtrak served the Union with a notice to contract out the ET, Track and B&B work for two new High Speed Rail Facilities located in Sunnyside Yard and Ivy City. These new proposed facilities would be used to maintain and repair the new train sets that are being purchased to replace and supplement the Acela fleet. The Union vigorously protested these intentions. We filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court to stop the contractors. We made our case to the senior Amtrak managers and to the Board of Directors. We took initial steps to organize a strike if necessary over the issue. We went and talked to politicians that support Amtrak and informed them that the Union busting would not be tolerated. We kept the rank and file informed and organized a consensus that we would do anything necessary to protect our work and our collective bargaining agreement. Our victory is evidenced in this agreement.
March 18, 2018 - The BMWED's letter to Amtrak re: Fair Warning. Amtrak has informed our Union that they intend to proceed with the 72nd Street contracting project of BMWED core work and thus unilaterally abrogating our collective bargaining agreement. We have offered to arbitrate this dispute and Amtrak has ignored us. Attached is an advance copy of a letter that Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer D.J. Stadler will be receiving by UPS overnight mail on Tuesday. Read letter here...
March 12, 2018 - Today the BMWED filed suit in Federal Court against Amtrak for their intended use of contractors to install rail and catenary at three different locations on the Corridor. Our Scope Rule preserves work historically performed by members of the BMWE for the Carrier as of January 1, 1987, or prior thereto. Because we installed ties, rail, and catenary prior to 1987, contracting out this work would be in violation of our agreement unless the General Chairman offers his concurrence. The General Chairman has not. Proceeding with this work using contractors would not only violate our agreement but would also violate Section 2, Seventh of the Railway Labor Act. Read Law Suit here...
March 1, 2018 - Amtrak and the BMWED are on a collision course with respect to contracting out of core track and electric traction work. Linked is our March 1, 2018 letter with attachments to Amtrak President CEO Richard Anderson requesting to resolve this dispute peaceably in expedited party pay arbitration. Read More...
January 1, 2018 - For years our per diem allowance remained stagnate while the cost of everything else in our lives increased. Hard fought negotiations spearheaded by the BMWED culminated with a per diem rate tied to multipliers. Initially those multipliers provided only small adjustments to our per diem. This year federal regulators calculated that the November 2016 Consumer Price Index for Food Away From Home (1982-84=100) for the U.S. City Average for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Employees (CPI-W) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (271.353) increased 2.5% over November 2016 (264.779). The bottom line: Our 2018 per diem rate increases by $1.16, from $46.52 to $47.68 View Amtrak's letter.
December 15, 2017 - Amtrak buys out managers, loses competence.
June 7, 2017 - Amtrak's Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Intimidation for Accident, Injury and Illness Reporting. We strongly discourage any member from using Amtrak's internal investigation process and strongly recommend that you use the Federal Agency (OSHA) and laws (FRSA 20109) provided for your protection.
April 24, 2017 - Sleep Apnea - In a letter exchange between the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Amtrak, and then as informational correspondence to Union leadership, regulators and administrators discuss sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Read More...
April 3, 2017 - Amtrak Training and Qualifications - Our agreement requires standardized tests, standardized training, standardized qualifications and rank and file members to qualify and train members on equipment. With the massive reorganization in management, many of the new managers were unaware of these procedures and the rights of the membership have sometimes been ignored. Also, with the great turnover in our rank and file, many of our new members are not aware of these rights or how to enforce them. The Union has met with management over the problems regarding implementing this agreement and they have revised their training and qualifications procedures to comply with our agreement. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of your rights under the agreement so that you know your rights and can help enforce them. Read More...
March 23, 2017 - Safety Update. In order for us to make Amtrak number one in safety, I think is is necessary to understand what has worked and what has not worked on the Amtrak property. Offensive and draconian discipline programs have not worked. Training the employees improperly and permitting employees to engage in unsafe behavior without consequence has not worked. What has worked is… Read More…
January 9, 2017 - Safety Update. For Amtrak, it is all about the money and not about safety. For the Amtrak manager, it is all about not being responsible for managing a safe railroad. Read this letter from the three big unions on Amtrak and understand that the consequence of railroad management's dysfunction can be measured in injuries and fatalities. Our Injuries. Our Fatalities.
Also included with this letter is a list of all the safety liaisons on the Amtrak property and their contact information and an "Unsafe Condition Reporting" form. We must use these liaisons and this form to document safety related conditions that need addressing. We cannot rely on railroad managers to protect us, we must protect ourselves.
View Letter and Unsafe Condition Reporting form
January 1, 2017 - For years our per diem allowance remained stagnate while the cost of everything else in our lives increased. Hard fought negotiations spearheaded by the BMWED culminated with a per diem rate tied to multipliers. Initially those multipliers provided only small adjustments to our per diem. This year federal regulators calculated that the November 2016 Consumer Price Index for Food Away From Home (1982-84=100) for the U.S. City Average for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Employees (CPI-W) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (264.779) increased 2.2% over November 2015 (259.041). The bottom line: Our 2017 per diem rate increases by $1.00, from $45.52 to $46.52 View Amtrak's letter.
December 20, 2016 - Amtrak provides the annual report for the Amtrak Retirement Savings Plan.
April 14, 2016 - Letter to the membership in connection with the injuries and deaths resulting from the recent train strike of maintenance of way workers. Also included is a letter to Amtrak's president and other relevant correspondence.
April 12, 2016 - Amtrak advises it will soon do away with pay stubs. View Amtrak's letter to the employees and the Pay Statement Mailing Authorization Form.
April 3, 2016 - BMWED member struck and killed by Train 89 near Chester, Pennsylvania, and another member injured in this horrific accident.
February 18, 2016 - "An Appeal To Reason", Boardman announces his retirement. Good Riddance!
December 21, 2015 - Pursuant to our November 4, 2010 agreement, the per diem will be increased by $1.24 to $45.52 effective January 1, 2016.
September 2, 2015 - Amtrak's 14-Hour Overtime Edict, a Unilateral Abrogation of the Agreement. The BMWED's response to Amtrak's Deputy Chief Engineer-Maintenance Andrew Keefe's letter of instruction dated August 21, 2015. Amtrak Instructs that it will restrict the amount of hours an employee may work based on vague data obscure to everyone except Amtrak. Read More... including the BMWED's letter to Amtrak's Chief Engineer.
May 21, 2015 - Amtrak Capitulates, Agrees to Binding Interest Arbitration. Amtrak has abandoned their position concerning our “Me Too” disputes and have accepted our offer to interest arbitration. Our claims and litigation will be discontinued and the dispute will now be heard before a Special Board of Adjustment. This next step in a lengthly and convoluted process will finally decide: Did Amtrak deny compensation to BMWED workers by incorrectly applying our ‘Me Too’ agreement as compared to contracts settled by other Amtrak unions.
View our Arbitration offer to Amtrak.
April 23, 2015 - General Chairman Dodd's response to Deputy Engineer Keefe’s April 10, 2015 letter (see below) regarding Amtrak’s intent to cancel our BMWED Safe-2-Safer agreement, along with a cover letter to Amtrak’s Board of Directors.
April 10, 2015 - Amtrak seeks to cancel our BMWED Safe-2-Safer agreement. Amtrak management writes: "...The organization has consistently maintained the declaration that Safe-2-Safer is not working. Without the support from the leaders of the organization, the carrier agrees, Safe-2-Safer will not work." A unique perspective.
March 25, 2015 - Tell The Truth, a rivoting memo from Scot Naperstak ordering agreement covered employees to display more honesty and integrity than our management counterparts. Failure for employees to tell the truth will not be tolerat4ed and lead to serious consequences up to and including dismissal.
March 18, 2015 - Amtrak management has declared war on Its employees. Our senior managers have little or no experience In operating or building a railroad. They have not been hired for their railroad expertise. They have been hired to extract more from the workforce and attack our rights and compensation. Over 50% of our current membership has been hired in the last five years, and this management is betting that their anti-employee, union busting tactics will not be hindered by a workforce that is new to union membership. The Union is the primary obstacle to their attacks and our first line of defense is an informed and active membership. The purpose of this letter is to educate you about the problem and begin the process of organizing our resistance to these attacks. Read More...
February 19, 2015 - "Safety and Security-Opportunities Exist to Improve the Safe-2-Safer Program". A glaring report issued by the Office of Inspector General that illustrates Amtrak's FRA-reportable injury ratio at more than three times the average of the other Class I railroads in 2013. Read report here.
December 18, 2014 - Pursuant to our November 4, 2010 agreement, the per diem will be increased by $1.25 to $44.28 effective January 1, 2015.
December 11, 2014 - Amtrak issues a memo re: Protests on Amtrak Property.
October 11, 2014 - Contractor crane topples on Race Track project just 10 days after our union warned Amtrak's Chief Engineer. "We believe that the project is being mismanaged and the contractor is not being held accountable...furthermore we believe that the contractor does not work safely." see letter to Scot Naparstek below.
October 7, 2014 - Claim against being denied the $250.00 lump-sum bonus, which should be payable to the workers under the provisions of the August 20, 2014 Supplemental Award. That award reads:
“In the event the Carrier reaches agreements with other Organizations (representing other crafts) which contain more favorable general wage increases or benefits during the current round of negotiations, such provisions will be incorporated into this agreement, unless such improvement(s) was made in consideration for modification(s) in other work rules in the agreements between the parties.”
During the current round of negotiations, Amtrak reached an agreement with UTU covering the UTU Passenger Conductors & Assistant Passenger Conductors that includes the payment of an annual lump sum wage increase of $250.00 that is not included in the agreements reached with BMWED and BRS. Copies of this claim were delivered to all the Amtrak officers designated to receive them. View claim...
October 7, 2014 - Same as above, this claim is being presented against being denied the semi-annual bonus payment of $500.00 which UTU received, and which should be payable to PRLBC workers under the provisions of the August 20, 2014 Supplemental Award.
September 30, 2014 - Letter to Scott Naparstek, Acting Chief Engineer in connection with the Race Track Project. “The installation of constant tension systems is the future of high speed railroad on the Northeast Corridor and the test track for this purpose, known as the Race Track project in the Metropolitan Division, is extremely important to both Amtrak and our Union. The agreements worked out between Amtrak and the Union to build this project were carefully crafted with this in mind. ...We believe that the project is being mismanaged and the contractor is not being held accountable and is obtaining windfalls from the taxpayers as a result of this mismanagement and the lack of accountability. Furthermore we believe that the contractor (Case) does not work safely.” Read More…
May 2, 2014 - Amtrak advises regarding the Bi-Weekly pay period and work week definition adjustments. The Arbitration panel was persuaded that adoption of 1) the bi-weekly pay, 2) direct deposit, 3) definition of the workweek, and 4) adjustment of pay error administrative work rule changes are appropriate, are part of the Amtrak Pattern settlements, and should be thrust upon the BMWED as well.
View Amtrak's advisement including Payroll Hotline Number, along with the FAQ sheet, the payroll calendar, and the “bridge loan request” forms.
March 25, 2014 - PRLBC-Amtrak arbitration decision is rendered resolving wage disputes, retroactivity, healthcare cost-sharing and plan design adjustments, and work rules.
March 20, 2014 - Work Week dispute settlement letter and claimant list.
January 27, 2014 - Public Law Board award - Work Week dispute. View decision here. (1.1mb)
January 1, 2014 - Per Diem Increase - Resulting from language included in our November 4, 2010 "Fence Agreement, 2(b)", the per diem allowance for 2014 will be increased by 87¢.
The November 2013 Consumer Price Index for Food Away From Home (1982-84=100) for the U.S. City Average for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Employees (CPI-W) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (245.036) increased 2.0% over November 2012 (240.216). Accordingly, the current $42.16 Per Diem will be increased by $.87 effective January 1, 2014, which includes the agreed upon 2013 adjustment. Based on this adjustment, the new Per Diem amount will be $43.03.
Read Amtrak's letter here.
Amtrak Contract Arbitration Agreement
The Passenger Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition has finalized an agreement with Amtrak to arbitrate and settle our contract dispute(s). We will have a decision and contract in place by March 1, 2014 at the latest.
January 1, 2013 - Per Diem Increase - Resulting from language included in our November 4, 2010 "Fence Agreement, 2(b)", the per diem allowance for 2013 will be increased by $1.02. The November 2012 Consumer Price Index for Food Away From Home (1982=100) for the U. S. City Average for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Employees issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (240.038) increased 2.475% over November 2011 (234.240) as reported in 2011. Accordingly, the current $41.14 Per Diem will be increased by $1.02 effective January 1, 2013. Based on this adjustment, the new Per Diem amount will be $42.16.
Read Amtrak's letter here.
December 14, 2012 - America’s Railroad Can’t Live In ‘Survival Mode’ - Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman was interviewed on camera by Bloomberg TV for a profile about him and his role as the government-subsidized rail corporation's leader. In the interview, Boardman says that Amtrak has lived in "survival mode" for the past 40 years when it comes to funding, and can't exist in that state anymore.
"We either grow or we die," Boardman said. Read More...
October 10, 2012 - Amtrak Contractor Policies Endanger Riding Public. The Pennsylvania Federation discovered an alarming reality; an outside contractor is now responsible for all administration and testing in connection with Contractor Orientation Training, and can then issue contractor security photo ID badges allowing outsiders access to Amtrak’s mainline and infrastructure.
In a letter to New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, General Chairman Dodd discusses this security threat and the potential for disaster. Read our warning.
July 9, 2012 - Amtrak's high-speed Northeast Corridor plan at $151 billion. Amtrak says the costs of building the new rail system would be offset by 40,000 construction jobs a year for 25 years, 22,000 new permanent jobs, and increased revenue and productivity for East Coast employers. Amtrak is waiting for the Federal Railroad Administration to complete a required environmental-impact assessment of the corridor to come up with a "preferred alternative" for development. That assessment is expected to take until June 2015. In the meantime, Amtrak is moving to build political and popular support for funding and building its proposed high-speed corridor.
June 12, 2012 - June 12, 2012 - Amtrak’s memo re: Use of Amtrak Issued Mobile Computing Devices, Letter of Instruction.
March 29, 2012 - SEPTA Job Sites on the Northeast Corridor Threaten Railroad Passengers and Right of Way Workers. The purpose of this letter is to focus your attention on an alarming pattern of negligence by SEPTA work crews who are working on SEPTA train stations along the Northeast Corridor and in the foul of the Northeast Corridor. Their continued and willful violation of the FRA Roadway Worker Protection regulations and NORAC operating rules will potentially lead to fatally injuring passengers, Amtrak employees or SEPTA employees who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A railroad emergency exists and we will hope that you take this situation seriously and correct it. These issues have been raised and documented repeatedly to senior Amtrak engineering management whose lack of remedial action can only be described as negligent. Read More... of General Chairman Dodd's letter to Amtrak's President Boardman.
Then read Boardman's response...
March 13, 2012 - The Passenger Rail Labor Bargaining Coalition (PRLBC), on behalf of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), along with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), are making a joint application for the National Mediation Board’s services in mediating outstanding disputes arising from the PRLBC’s Section 6 Notice of April 7, 2010. View our joint Application for Mediation Services here.
January 19, 2012 - Amtrak's Vice President Government Affairs Joe McHugh writes to Congressman Tom Latham, (R-IA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Appropriations regarding overtime work on Amtrak, and the legislated $35,000 cap on overtime. Read Joe McHugh's letter here.
January 1, 2012 - Per Diems - Latin for "per day" or "for each day", per diems refer to a specific amount of money that an employer allows a worker per workday, to cover living and traveling expenses in connection with that work. In 2010 the BMWED succeeded in negotiating per diem adjustments tied to variables reported by Bureau of Labor Statistics. Section 2.b. of our November 4, 2010 BMWED/Amtrak fencing agreement is the product of those negotiations, providing in perpetuity for an annual adjustment of our per diems. The new per diem amount for 2012 will be increased from $40.00 to $41.14. Read More...
December 14, 2011 - Amtrak Safety Crisis Follow Up "Last month I wrote to you about the current safety emergency on the Northeast Corridor. Over the course of a short period of time, we had a series of close calls and incidents. Our concern was that another employee fatality was inevitable. There have been 17 members of the Union killed on the job since the beginning of Amtrak in 1976, and most of these Brothers were hit by trains. It is a huge mistake to think that it cannot happen to you, and currently, conditions exist where it is more likely to happen again." Read More of General Chairman Dodd's follow-up letter to BMWED/Amtrak members.
November 7, 2011 - The purpose of this letter is to alert you to the fact that, currently conditions exist on the Amtrak property that, in the past, have resulted in an employee fatality. Supervisors are issuing orders to do jobs without enough resources and telling members of the Union that if they complain they won’t honor side deals to let them leave early. Young foreman are being intimidated by Supervisors and Managers because they are inexperienced and being told to do things without enough men to protect the job site. Our newer members are being told to do things by some foreman and when the instruction is questioned the foreman is rude, threatening and intimidating. The side deals, inexperience and ego power trips will inevitably lead to the death of one of our members. Of course there are other reasons for the increased danger now on the property, but I think if we are honest with one another these are some of the major reasons. Read More of General Chairman Dodd's letter to BMWED/Amtrak members.
June 9, 2011 - The BMWED performs initial assessment of the recent accident where a light plant came into contact with energized catenary. It is our requirement that all light plants should be removed from service until we can ensure they are properly grounded and the controls are properly marked to indicate direction for when the light pole is raised or lowered. General Chairman Dodd's letter to Amtrak is linked here. Then read Deputy Chief Falkenstein's curt response.
June 9, 2011 - Are Amtrak Safety Liaisons entitled to the Foreman Service Bonus? Not according to Amtrak, who graciously agreed not to recover three thousand dollars of service bonus from our liaisons. Read Frank Vacca's letter on the subject here.
May 16, 2011 - Important payroll update from Amtrak, who is in the process of transitioning into a new Strategic Asset Management (SAM) program on June 10, 2011. View Amtrak's correspondence to Union Leaders, along with Amtrak's explaination of this transition including examples. Questions can be directed to 866-247-2915.
May 13, 2011 - Please read this important Safety Notice regarding “Implantable Cardiac Devices”. Should you have any questions about the contents of this notice; please contact your local Safety Officer. Medically related questions should be directed to HR Medical Services at (215) 349-2389.
April 11, 2011 - Amtrak President Joe Boardman, while presenting Amtrak's budget request, attempts to explain Amtrak's overtime expenses and the seniority provisions of labor agreements to Congressman Tom Latham, (R-IA), Chairman of a House Subcommittee on Appropriations.
February 11, 2011 - Amtrak President Joe Boardman's letter to the Unions discussing the future of Amtrak funding, the importance of educating the new faces of Government, cutting Amtrak spending, and more. Read President Boardman's letter here.
January 10, 2011 - Secret ballots counted for the Amtrak Contract Survey. There were 2094 ballots sent to Amtrak workers in 6 BMWED-IBT Systems, Divisions, or Federations, and a 45.5% return of those ballots. 14.5% voted to accept Amtrak’s offer and 85.5% voted to continue to bargain for a better settlement. View Survey results here.
December 6, 2010 BMWED – Amtrak Contract Survey Letter and Summary of Agreement between Amtrak and the Settled Unions (IBEW, TCU, lAM, Carmen, ATDA, ARASA, and TWU). A secret ballot has been mailed, giving the membership opportunity to voice their opinion, the results of which will be counted on January 10, 2011. View Survey Letter here.
September 29, 2010 - Amtrak’s memo re: Cooperation with the OIG.
September 29, 2010 Amtrak issues it's Infrastructure Master Plan. This new dream system’s construction would support 44,000 jobs annually over the 25-year construction period and approximately 120,000 permanent jobs, while generating an annual operating surplus of approximately $900 million. Read Amtrak's Employee Advisory and then view the report (3.5mb) in all it's splendid glory.
August 11, 2010 - Amtrak's newest in a cell phone memo.
July 30, 2010 Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman's contract with Amtrak has been extended by the Board of Directors through 2013. Maybe thats enough time for our outstanding contract to settle. Let's not all hold our breath. Read More...
July 15, 2010 - Amtrak promises to re-plant trees they cut down. The circle of life.
June 28, 2010 Amtrak Announces Three New Board Members. Anthony R. Coscia, Bert DiClemente and Jeff Moreland were nominated by President Obama and recently confirmed by the United States Senate. They are expected to soon assume their new responsibilities guiding and overseeing America’s railroad.
“We welcome our newest board members with confidence they will contribute their considerable knowledge and experience to advance Amtrak’s growth strategy and efforts to make the nation’s railroad safer, greener, and healthier,” said Amtrak Chairman Thomas Carper. Read Press Release...
May 1, 2010 "An Appeal To Reason" Amtrak edition discussing various contracts, both ratified and tentative. Also discussed is the study which found Amtrak Workers underpaid compared to our Passenger Rail counterparts.
February 4, 2010 General Chairman Dodd's letter with regards to both an upcoming BST/Safe-2-Safer survey, and our Union's current relationship with management's newest safety program. View General Chairman Dodd's letter here.
January 20, 2010 Obama Names Freight Attorney to Amtrak Board. President Obama is nominating Jeffrey R. Moreland, a former senior attorney with BNSF Railway and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, to join Amtrak’s board of directors. Read More...
January 5, 2010 Joseph Boardman will continue to lead Amtrak for a while. The national intercity passenger railroad’s board recently extended his contract as interim president and chief executive officer "indefinitely," according to Amtrak. Read More...
December 3, 2009 Amtrak’s recent correspondence regarding new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations which impact agreement covered employees. Payment for per diems and meals for employees who are not in lodging, and meals provided in connection with working overtime will be considered taxable income under the IRS regulations. Read correspondence.
November 30, 2009 Amtrak Announces it’s Xmas Present to Employees. Amtrak gifts the workers this year with time clocks. Just when you’ve finally gotten over the 2006-07 Merry MAXIMO Christmas where over nine hundred Amtrak employees and their families were Scrooged by Maximo caused payroll shortages. For this holiday season, Amtrak prepares to “roll out” a swipe card time clock system. Given Amtrak’s history, what can the workers expect from this present? Let’s hope this season isn’t spoiled by Amtrak’s time clock scheme. Read How the Grinch Stole Christmas here.
November 23, 2009 The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provide Amtrak an additional $850,000,000 for capital projects. Read General Chairman Dodd's letter to the Amtrak Committee and the letter of understanding for various ARRA projects, such as Security Upgrades, Platform Lighting, and Right of Way Improvements.
November 5, 2009 Amtrak's Chairman Thomas Carper today announced his appointment of Theodore (Ted) Alves as Amtrak’s new Inspector General. Carper appointed Mr. Alves after naming a Selection Committee chaired by Amtrak board member Nancy A. Naples and comprised of Amtrak board vice chairman Donna McLean and two prominent former inspectors general, Ken Mead from the U.S. DOT and Gaston Gianni from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The Selection Committee sought and received input from the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), and the chairman engaged a leading executive search firm to assist with the process. Does this mean Ms. Lorraine Green is back full time at H.R.? Read Amtrak's fluffy news release.
October 30, 2009 Amtrak petitions the FRA for a waiver enabling the off-corridor passenger platform snow removal to be performed using conductors and contractors.
September 21, 2009 - Amtrak's Joe Bress wants to give us all flu shots.
September 20, 2009 Amtrak's Bridges Troubled. Officials say the region's spans are safe, but they need hundreds of millions in repairs. An Inquirer lawsuit threat uncovered the data.
August 6, 2009 Amtrak Top Cop Paid Hush Money? Amtrak IG's severance raises questions. When Fred Weiderhold Jr. suddenly retired this summer, Amtrak agreed to pay him more than $310,000 in exchange for his signature on a separation agreement that drastically limited what he could say about the circumstances of his departure.
August 1, 2009 The agreement is signed in connection with the foreman rate increase, the CDL differential, and the tree cutting in the overhead wires. and is effective August 1, 2009.
Amtrak has informed the Union that it may be several weeks before their payroll system can be updated to include the new rates of pay for Foreman. Any shortages resulting from this situation will be adjusted and retroactively paid back to August 1, 2009. This also applies to shortages in the CDL differential.
July 27, 2009 The ballots have been cast, the votes have been counted, the membership has decided. Link provides the official results certified by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) in connection with ratification voting on the July 3, 2009 tentative special agreement.
June 30, 2009 Over the last several months our Union leaders have been meeting with Amtrak in an attempt to negotiate a special agreement to raise the foreman rate of pay, provide more money to members who are required to obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), improve the 65-cent incentive allowance and increase the travel money for members in production gangs. Follow link to the proposed special agreement page, including the general agreement summary, and schedule of pre-ratification meetings.
June 25, 2009 Officials of Amtrak have "systematically violated the letter and spirit of the Inspector General Act," Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) charged Thursday (June 25), making public a 94-page legal report prepared at the request of the Amtrak inspector general who resigned suddenly a week ago, the American Spectator reports.
May 29, 2009 Baltimore's Penn Station to get hotel. Amtrak officials confirmed this week that they have signed a lease with Hospitality Partners of Bethesda that will enable the company to build and run a "boutique" hotel inside the 1911 train station while it continues to operate as a railroad terminal.
February 17, 2009 Amtrak President Joseph Boardman asked Congress to provide sufficient funds so Amtrak can fulfill its contractual obligation to pay agreement employees the entire amount of retroactive pay due in 2009.
January 30, 2009 Amtrak's Special Employee Advisory announcing Thomas Carper (not the Delaware Senator) assumes role as Chairman of Amtrak Board, replacing Republican Donna McLean.
January 21, 2009 Tom Roth's letter to General Chairman Dodd discussing an audit and determination that Amtrak’s methodology in calculating the back pay is correct with the exception of Amtrak's failure to pay retroactive money on time claims paid during the retroactive period.
January 20, 2009 Back Pay calculations in error, Amtrak does not consider claim settlements as subject to retroactive calculations. BMWED issues strike warning.
January 13, 2009 Thousands of concrete ties to be replaced in Connecticut
January 7, 2009 Amtrak conductor will ride to inauguration
January 6, 2009 Amtrak plans onboard credit sales
December 31, 2008 Amtrak's Portal Bridge replacement in Forecast
December 18, 2008 Amtrak special Employee Advisory - Amtrak President Boardman's message
December 11, 2008 Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) writes Amtrak's President Boardman regarding Rail Security on Northeast Corridor
December 3, 2008 Rail Labor Protests Appointment of Amtrak President Joe Boardman
November 25, 2008 Amtrak Alex calls it Quits
June 2, 2008 - Please don't leave early
March 20, 2008 - Will managers get the retro wages produced by the Unions in this round of bargaining?.
July 20, 2007 Agreement reached with Amtrak to resolve grievances submitted after Assistant Foreman positions were posted to be Contractor Protection Foreman for a series of NJT Projects in the Metropolitan Division.
October 30, 2006 - Payroll changes
July 6, 2006 - Amtrak Organizational Effectiveness Survey, where management asks our opinion on exactly how screwed up Amtrak has become.
June 8, 2006 - Hearing Officer Ron Niew calls it quits, a seperation necessary so he can work directly for Amtrak.
September 21, 2005 - Testimony of John F. Murphy, Director of the Teamsters Rail Conference to the Committee to the US House T&I Committee on Amtrak’s Strategic Reform Proposal. “To run a railroad requires a focus on the mission of providing good service every day to the tens of thousands of people riding Amtrak. It requires the employees working hard to pro- vide good service. It requires a company that knows its mission and how to achieve it.
Sadly, Amtrak currently lacks the leadership to perform. Its disdain for its employees, its focus on excuses, its spineless bowing to the fanciful plans of lobbyists cloaked in think tank regalia who are intent only on getting their hands on federal funds, its inability to tell the straightforward truth about its financial needs, all lead to the conclusion that Amtrak is concerned not with providing great rail passenger service in this country, but only with preserving their own jobs in the choppy political waters of Washington. That’s no way to run a rail- road and certainly no way to treat Amtrak’s hard-working employees.
May 13, 2005 - Portal Bridge Fire - Amtrak abolished the Portal Bridge Track Foreman Safety Assurance positions and what happened? A fire causing millions of dollars of damage and countless hours of interuptions to passenger travel. View General Chairman Dodd's warning letter along with news articles from the New York Times, NorthJersey.com, the Star-Ledger, the Assiciated Press and even the New York Post.