Friday, July 02, 2004

Amtrak Workers Can't Walk Off Job

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Amtrak employees can't walk off the job to protest what they call chronic government underfunding of the passenger railroad.

Members of unions representing 8,000 of Amtrak's 21,000 employees said in October they'd call a work stoppage because Congress and the Bush administration wouldn't give the railroad enough money. Such an action could have affected intercity passenger service as well as commuter trains in some major cities.

The unions argued that the law banning strikes doesn't apply to the proposed walkout because it would be a political action that had nothing to do with negotiations over pay or working conditions.

The court disagreed, noting that Amtrak unions are engaged in negotiation or mediation with the railroad over new contracts.

"Call it a political protest rather than a strike; no matter," the court said, adding that federal law prohibits a strike as well as any union tactic that "has the consequences of a strike."

I have a very simple solution to this problem, turn Amtrak over to a private company. Let it live or die on it's on. Why in hell should my tax dollars keep going to this black hole?

To the above problem, the court is absolutely correct. You can call it what you want but, it is still a strike and government workers can't strike.