WASHINGTON, DC – Last night, the Senate approved the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2007, which reauthorizes Amtrak’s funding levels and programs. Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, offers the following statement:
“In passing a multi-year funding plan for Amtrak, the Senate rejected the failed Bush Administration policies of attempting to privatize service and cut funding for our national passenger rail system. The overwhelming support for this bill and rejection of specific hostile amendments demonstrates strong support for our nation’s passenger rail system.
“Amtrak has been starved of necessary funding for far too long, allowing safety and security upgrades to lag. In addition, a majority of Amtrak workers have suffered for eight years without wage increases. Amtrak management has played games at the bargaining table, stonewalled contract talks and used political uncertainty as a hollow excuse to deprive workers of long overdue pay raises.
“The Senate has taken an important step toward placing Amtrak on more stable financial footing. But the job will not be completed until our elected leaders force Amtrak to finally give the men and women who operate and maintain this railroad the raises they have earned, and the back-pay to which they’re entitled.
“We thank Senator Lautenberg and Senator Lott for their leadership in guiding this bill through the Senate and for their support for Amtrak.”
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit www.ttd.org.