April 30, 2016

Railroads seek extension for installing PTC

WASHINGTON – Spurred by a deadly train crash in Los Angeles, Congress in 2008 passed with great fanfare legislation requiring the nation’s railroads to install a sophisticated collision-avoidance system by the end of 2015. Five years later, an industry move to extend the deadline to 2020 is picking up steam on Capitol Hill. Read the […]

Members ratify five-year Amtrak agreement

Amtrak employees represented by the SMART Transportation Division (UTU) have ratified a five-year agreement with management of the National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak). The new pact covers approximately 2,300 members employed as conductors, assistant conductors, yardmasters and dining car stewards.  The agreement is retroactive to 2010 and the new rates of pay should become effective […]

FRA unveils vison for Northeast Corridor

The Federal Railroad Administration is currently managing a comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate and prioritize future levels of investment in the Northeast Corridor (NEC) through 2040. This effort, launched in February 2012 and called NEC FUTURE, will produce a Service Development Plan that articulates the overall scope, alternatives and approach for proposed improvements, and […]

Congress must advance plan for Amtrak


ORLANDO, Fla. – As lawmakers prepare to debate passenger rail reauthorization, leaders of AFL-CIO transportation unions are calling on Congress to set a long-term future for Amtrak that meets the demands of a growing ridership, invests in the railroad’s decaying equipment and network, protects the rights and jobs of workers and rejects “risky” privatization of […]

Senate confirms two to Amtrak board

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Christopher R. Beall and Yvonne Brathwaite Burke as new members of the Amtrak Board of Directors for five-year terms. Beall, of Oklahoma, is a partner at Highstar Capital, an infrastructure investment firm specializing in the transportation, environmental services and energy sectors. Previously, Beall was chief financial officer for Aslan Group, […]

Update on Amtrak negotiations

UTU Amtrak conductors and yardmasters are currently in mediation with regard to an amended wage, benefits and working conditions agreement. The UTU and Amtrak are far apart on a few difficult issues. At this time, the parties are exploring alternative methods of interest-based resolution. This may or may not work. The UTU and Amtrak have […]

Amtrak Chair Carper gains boost from Senate leader

Amtrak Board Chairman Tom Carper has won endorsement from Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) for renomination by President Obama. That nomination would require Senate confirmation. Carper, a former mayor of McComb, Ill., has served on the Amtrak board since March 2008 and has been its chairman since January 2009. Said Durbin in his letter […]

Amtrak’s future crucial to Rail Retirement financing

Stem “Every Amtrak employee should be placed in a productive position that supports the needs of customer service and managed growth of operations,” UTU National Legislative Director James Stem told Congress Nov. 28. “Amtrak operating crews are among the most productive workers in that system and our members are ready and eager to work,” he […]

Republicans, Romney & Ryan agree: Kill Amtrak

The Republican National Convention has made it official and in writing – the Republican Party, its presidential candidate Mitt Romney and its vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan are in agreement to end all federal funding for Amtrak and high-speed rail. Romney previously signed on in support of a Ryan budget proposal Ryan introduced in Congress […]

Update on congressional funding for Amtrak

Here is an update on federal funding to keep Amtrak operating. The House of Representatives in June approved a transportation funding bill — for the 12-month fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 — that includes $1.8 billion for Amtrak (H.R. 5972). This is an almost $400 million increase over fiscal-year 2012 funding that ends Sept. […]