Amtrak, union reach agreement on relocation, severance for call center workers

RELATED TOPICS: AMTRAK | LABOR RELATIONS | PASSENGER | CALIFORNIA
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A weathered sign marks the location of Amtrak's reservation call center in Riverside, Calif., slated to close in January.
David Croteau

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Amtrak has reached an agreement with the union representing workers at its soon-to-close Riverside call center over severance or relocation packages, the company said in a Friday email to the Riverside Press Enterprise.

Neither the company or representatives of the Transportation Communications Union would disclose details of the agreement. In an email, Amtrak spokeswoman Olivia Irvin told the newspaper the agreement would give workers the opportunity to relocate to Amtrak’s remaining reservation call center in Philadelphia, and that the company would attempt to find employees other jobs in California, with Amtrak or elsewhere.

The workers have protested the planned closure since it was announced in November. [See “Amtrak to close California reservation center, eliminating 550 jobs,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 15, 2018.] Amtrak said it reflected a decrease in calls to the reservation center as more people made reservations on line, while the workers and their union said some call-handling was being outsourced to a center in Florida. The workers’ efforts led a group of California congressmen to write Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson in an effort to change the closure plans. [See “Congressional delegation decries Amtrak plan to close call center,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 14, 2018.]

Jack Dinsdale, the union’s national vice president, told the Press-Enterprise efforts to keep the call center open would continue despite the agreement.

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