Amtrak hiring is up while current employees turn against their CEO

4 months ago by James Mattone in News, Trends
iStock 2015

The employment situation at partially government subsidized Amtrak ($AMTRAK) turned peculiar this month, as overall job openings have reached their highest level in two years while labor unions protest alleged service worker layoffs. Despite a record high in job openings, a decline operating losses last year by 46 percent, and other moves towards becoming a company that won't rely as much as taxpayer dollars, concerns with Amtrak's CEO from both employees and riders are growing.

Since late November 2016, Amtrak has not had more than 210 job openings on its careers page. Or at least, that was the case until late September, and currently, the national passenger railroad system is hiring for over 250 positions.

These openings aren't necesarily in line with employee concerns, however. When looking at openings for today compared to August 27, its lowest hiring point in recent months, hires are picking up for technical positions — Systems Development, Technology Support, and Technology Consulting — and entry-level Trainee positions.

Job Category Job Listing Count (10/24) Job Listing Count (8/27)
Equipment Maintenance and Overhaul 30 33
Systems Development 23 8
Training 17 9
Technology Support 16 4
Standards 13 3
Project Management Construction 11 2
Regulatory 9 3
Financial Analysis 8 0
Project Management 8 5
Technology Consulting 7 3

Meanwhile, the company hasn't listed an opening for any "Food Specialists", a hospitality position, since August 22. Hires for new service attendants also slowed to a crawl up until today, with the only listed open position being in Oakland, California.

This is in line with the company recently replacing chefs and cooked meals on some long-haul trains with pre-packaged food similar to that on airlines, which would decrease the need for hospitality and food workers on trains.

Backlash against "airline CEO" intensifies

As seen by recent protests, employees at Amtrak are reporting their grievances and concerns about Amtrak's future anonymously to Glassdoor in greater numbers. Today, the company's business outlook is close to its lowest point of the year, back when then co-CEO Richard H Anderson was transitioning in taking full ownership of the chief executive seat from Charles Wickliffe "Wick" Moorman IV.

Once Glassdoor updated Anderson's title as sole CEO and reset rankings on February 7, he was given a 42% approval rating by Amtrak's employees who reported to the website anonymously. Although his rating jumped past the Glassdoor average of 69% over the summer, it has since hurtled back down to below 55%.

It's not just employees who are upset over Amtrak's CEO as of late; it's riders are beginning to catch on to Anderson's latest moves. Under Anderson, a former CEO of Northwest Airlines and Delta Airlines, Amtrak cut AAA and Student discounts. It also changed Senior discounts, raising the age requirement to 65 and cutting the discount from 15% to 10%. And then there is the "airline food" debate

All of these things are making Amtrak feel more like an airline rather than a train company, and in one petition, riders are dubbing Anderson an "Airline CEO" while calling for his removal.

On top of concerns over President Trump's continued watch over federal funds given to the company, Amtrak appears to be squeezed from all different directions as it looks to reinvent itself.

James Mattone

James is a recent Boston University graduate who calls the world of esports and video games his home. As a young journalist, he has already covered two E3 expos a...

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