Amtrak workers protest possible job cuts from food changes

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An Amtrak boxed meal of the type served on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited. Amtrak workers protested possible food-service job losses on Wednesday in New York.
Bob Johnston

NEW YORK — Amtrak workers and union leaders staged a protest outside Penn Station on Wednesday, saying the company is preparing to lay off up to 1,700 workers by outsourcing its food services.

The New York Post reported an estimated 100 protestors had harsh words for Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, with signs depicting him as a robber barron.

The Post reported that Transport Workers Union International President John Samuelsen said Anderson is “engaged in a slash-and-burn management plan. He’s looking to dump 1,700 workers who provide Amtrak riders a vital service — hot food service — that they pay dearly for.” Protestors also criticized the replacement of dining-car service on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited with pre-packaged boxed meals.

In a statement, Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams told the Post 14 chef positions had been eliminated, and that “all who have sought a new position at Amtrak have landed one. We will continue to evaluate impacts to determine staffing levels.”

The statement also said: “Our continued success depends on increasing customer satisfaction, improving efficiency and costs. This contemporary style of service has been well received by customers, with meals of their choice and at times they choose.”

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