Sen. Carper Applauds Amtrak Agreement


WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement of a tentative Amtrak and labor organization agreement that averts an Amtrak strike:

“Amtrak meets the transportation needs of millions of Americans and thousands of businesses nationwide, including more than 700,000 Delaware riders each year. By averting a strike, this agreement helps not only Amtrak passengers and the more than 1,000 Amtrak employees in Delaware, but also the many businesses that rely on our national rail system.

“I commend Amtrak management and its labor unions for working together to reach this tentative contract agreement. It provides a pay increase for Amtrak employees that is comparable to that negotiated last year by the freight railroads. Amtrak employees, who have been working without a contract for eight years, will also receive back pay under the agreement.

“I was pleased that the strong recommendation from the Emergency Board appointed by President Bush could help encourage labor and management to come together around these recommendations.

“Now, the Congress and the Bush Administration must work to provide the funding needed to meet the financial obligations established under the contract. I pledge to do all I can to bring that about.

“Amtrak’s ridership and revenue are up by more than 15 percent this quarter. People are riding Amtrak in record numbers to avoid congestion on our nation’s highways and airports. It is important that rail remains a viable option for 21st century travel.”

Sen. Carper is a former Amtrak board member and member of the Senate Commerce Committee.