Rail

Amtrak unions threaten walkout in funding protest

Posted on September 17, 2003

Unions representing about a third of Amtrak's workers want to shut down the railroad on Oct. 3 to draw attention to what they say is chronic underfunding by the government, according to the Associated Press. Amtrak officials expect to have an injunction in hand to prevent the work stoppage, which they say is illegal, said the news service. The unions, which represent 8,000 of the railroad's 21,000 employees, issued a statement saying the protest is aimed at saving Amtrak. "Rather than allow the White House and Republican leadership to quietly kill Amtrak, Amtrak's labor leaders hope the one-day work stoppage will demonstrate to the American public the need for safe reliable passenger rail service," said a statement issued by the unions representing Amtrak employees. Amtrak President David Gunn said the railroad has a legal and public service obligation to provide intercity passenger rail service every day. "We anticipate that all of our employees will abide by existing contracts and the law," Gunn said in a statement. "In fact, it is because so many Americans are able to depend on Amtrak that the railroad needs to be adequately funded as we requested."

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