Amtrak to close California reservation center, eliminating 550 jobs

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Amtrak will close its Southern California reservation call center, eliminating 550 jobs, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

The closure was announced in a Wednesday email to employees. Operations will end on Jan. 18, with sale of the building to follow. The message to employees said operations would be consolidated with those at Amtrak’s other reservation center in Philadelphia, but the leader of a union representing Riverside employees says Amtrak has contracted with a third-party operator in Florida where employees are paid less.

The email from Tim Griffin, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said that about 90 percent of Amtrak’s bookings now come online, and that calls to the reservation centers have declined by almost three million over the last five years.

Sal Rodriguez, president of Local 2511 of the Transportation and Communication Union, said he believes workers were misled about the outsourced operation in Florida, having been told it was just to handle overflow work at the call centers.

In June, an Amtrak spokesman told the newspaper that the outsourcing was to “better meet variable service demands and lower our costs. … No employee will be laid off as the result of outsourcing.” Amtrak declined to comment Wednesday.

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