Amtrak Announces Testing Alternative, Avoiding Cuts to Service
December 14, 2021
For Immediate Release (21-23)
Contact: Sean Jeans-Gail (202) 320-2723; [email protected]
Amtrak Announces COVID Testing Alternative to Vaccine Mandate for Employees, Avoiding Cuts to Service
Washington, D.C. -- Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Bill Flynn informed employees today that, in light of the near-universal COVID vaccine adoption among its employees, and a recent decision by a federal district court halting enforcement of an Executive Order mandating vaccines for federal contractors, it will allow employees to opt-in to a testing program on an interim basis.
Flynn stated that the railroad believes these changes will allow the company to avoid any system-wide service impacts in January.
"We applaud Bill Flynn, Stephen Gardner, and the rest of the Amtrak management team for finding a reasonably safer way to keep America’s passenger trains running,” said Rail Passengers President Jim Mathews. “For hundreds of communities across the U.S., Amtrak is a critical transportation connection. We’re pleased that Amtrak leadership has shown flexibility in light of new developments, and grateful to Amtrak workers for performing the essential tasks that keep America’s passengers moving. We continue to support the goal of universal vaccination -- for both workers and passengers -- as the surest way to keep everyone onboard safe.”
Amtrak stated that 97.3% of employees have received at least one shot, with fewer than 500 active Amtrak employees subject to the testing regime. The company said more details on the testing program will be provided soon, and that it will be provided as an alternative to vaccine mandates on a temporary basis, “pending the outcome of the executive order litigation or further statutory, administrative or regulatory actions.”
About Rail Passengers Association
The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works and plays in towns all across America.
"I’m so proud that we came together in bipartisan fashion in the Senate to keep the Southwest Chief chugging along, and I’m grateful for this recognition from the Rail Passengers Association. This victory is a testament to what we can accomplish when we reach across the aisle and work together to advance our common interests."
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
April 2, 2019, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his work to protect the Southwest Chief