NEWARK, N.J., June 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Union, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters, representing Amtrak's track, building and bridges and overhead catenary construction and maintenance workers charged today that Amtrak's lack of testing and tracing for the Covid-19 virus is negligent. Amtrak has denied repeated requests by the Union to begin general testing and tracing of the employees to contain the Covid-19 virus. This refusal puts the employees who work on the railroad and the passengers who use the railroad at greater risk to contact the virus. All medical and public health authorities have stated that testing and tracing must be included in an effective strategy to contain the spread of the virus. Amtrak relies upon a system of self-reporting which is ineffective and does not include the substantial number of those infected who have the virus with no symptoms but could still infect other workers and passengers. Other major urban transit agencies like SEPTA and New Jersey Transit already have general testing procedures in place.
Transportation workers like Amtrak workers are deemed essential workers and have been showing up for work despite the extreme risks involved with contracting the virus. The rate of infection and death from the Covid-19 virus is significantly higher for transportation workers as a result. Amtrak recently received an additional one billion dollars to sustain itself and to institute protocols to contain the pandemic because it provide this essential service.
Jed Dodd, Vice President of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes stated, "The failure of Amtrak management to institute a general testing program for the employees for the virus is outrageous and puts workers and passengers at needless risk. While we will continue to show up for America it is time that Amtrak management show up and do their jobs to protect the workers and passengers."
The Union will begin informational picketing at Amtrak Board Chairperson Anthony Coscia's house in North Caldwell, NJ on Monday, June 22, 2020 at 3 PM.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes is a division of the Teamsters Union that represent 30 thousand men and women who construct and maintain the railroad track, buildings and bridges and overhead catenary systems of the America's freight and passenger railroads.
SOURCE Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters