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AMTRAK Covid-19 Practices Puts Passengers and Workers at Risk

Published: Jun 22 2020 3:12PM

June 22, 2020
Northeast Corridor

The BMWED, 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 contract 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. It does not include the substantial number of those who have the virus without 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 employees are deemed essential workers and have been showing up for work despite the extreme health risks involved. 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 $1 billion to sustain itself and institute pandemic containment protocols because it provides 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 COVID-19 testing program for the employees 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 shows up and does their jobs to protect the workers and passengers.”

The Union will begin informational picketing at Amtrak Board Chairperson Anthony Coscia’s house located at 35 Cypress Avenue, North Caldwell, N.J. on Monday, June 22 at 3p.m.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes is a division of the Teamsters  that represents 30,000 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.


Anthony Sessa, General Chairperson

Dale Bogart, General Chairperson

Jed Dodd, Vice President BMWED