Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Lew Archer, Jun 7, 2011.
Where are new employees put up in WIL?
I'll have to check...
Well, if Wilm/Delaware would help foot the bill for the river front hotel, it would be within walking distance of the training center. But that hotel is apparently a hot issue right now, so I don't know if it will get built or not.
The last class was housed at the Marriott Exec u stay...(?)...does that sound familiar?
Hey guys, seeing this is a great place to ask these types of questions involving conductor jobs at Amtrak I thought I'd go ahead.
First off I'm a huge transportation junkie with a vested interest in both planes and trains, and working on either one would arguably be one of the pinnecles of my life.
I recently applied to the open position for AC with a crewbase at NYP (NYC) and have some questions regarding it.
First, depending on the needs of the system do they put you up on ES or NEC service? Can you also be crewed for KS as well?
Secondly, compared to other bases, how bad is the extraboard at NYC, is it quick to get off of or so packed that forget being social for a good 6 years?
Thirdly, I'm guessing outside specific trains, layovers are rare if you work out of New York but can happen if you work the Vermonter or no?
Finally, Being young at 23, does having a solid working career help? I've been promoted to supervisor at my current job and happen to be one of the top workers at every job I've held. Sure I do "young" things but forget about doing that if a job needs me at any time.
Thanks for all your help, hope to see you out on the rails!
Check the websites of various railways. They all have their own hiring postings.
Does anyone know how bad the extra board is at LAX? I am fairly far along with my hiring process and should know in a few weeks if I get to go to Delaware in Aug/Sep?? How long does one have to be on the extra board until they are fully on a set schedule?
So you've been hired as an AC? If so would you be willing to answer some questions about the hiring process?
1. What kinds of things does Amtrak look for in a possible candidate?
2. What can make someone standout on an application?
Thank you for your time.
I want to apply for this position, but nothing leads to the application. Please send me the application.
We are not Amtrak. You need to contact them direct.
How would it be to have chicago as my base. ?
I hired out as an onboard service attendant in January, 1987, just before my 41st birthday. Worked OBS on many different trains and different jobs based in D.C. These included the Capitol Ltd. to Chicago, the Palmetto to Savannah, the Montrealer to Montreal, the Night Owl to New York and Boston, and some N.E. Corridor trains. Some of these train schedules have changed significantly since 1987. Later that year I transferred to Auto Train because the jobs on the Montrealer were cut, resulting in a surplus of manpower on D.C.-based regular service.
Onboard Service attendants are covered under the railroad retirement system. However, I had already contributed to Social Security for 25 years when I started working for Amtrak. In June, I retired from Amtrak at the age of 68, with 310 months (almost 26 years) of service. Several months were not counted because of sick leave or being away from the job for various other personal reasons. I don't fully understand the byzantine provisions of railroad retirement. I can tell you for certain that my current retirement income would be far better if I had stayed for the full 30 years (360 months), or if I could get full credit for all those years I contributed to Social Security. But 360 months would mean working for over four more years and retiring at the age of 72, or maybe older. Onboard service can be very physically demanding, largely because of the odd hours, short sleep, rapid turnarounds, irregular meals, and various issues that are just part of the job. I don't think many people over 60 are up to it. It was a real challenge for me over the past few years. In fact, there are a lot of people well under 60 who would have a hard time doing the job. Remember, Onboard Service employees are not considered operating employees because they have no role in actually moving the train. For this reason, they are not covered under the Federal Hours of Service law. Operating employees are guaranteed that their shifts will not exceed 12 hours, and they get federally mandated, guaranteed rest periods. Not so for O.B.S.
This thread has discussed both Assistant Conductor jobs, so I'm not sure what you will want to do. I, myself, was ineligible for an operating job because of imperfect color vision. I'd probably have done better financially if I'd been able to get an operating job. But I think I'll be able to get by OK on this income, and I'm ornery enough to live a long time.
I'm not sure how helpful this information will be, but I hope it helps you to make the right decision for you. Best of luck to you.
The second-to-last paragraph should refer to Assistant Conductor and Onboard Service jobs. The system won't let me edit. maybe I did something wrong.
I should add that Amtrak has a 401-K program, but Onboard Service employees (and I think all agreement-covered employees) must pay 100% of the contribution. The Company matches the contribution for Management employees ONLY, but not for any body else, as far as I know. Personally, I've always felt that Management needed it the least, but what do I know?
Interesting info Tom! So you're not allowed to collect Social Security in addition to RR Retirement? And what about Health Insurance vs Medicare????
Do Amtrak retirees have the same Insurance as In-Service ones?
The 401-K rip off is typical of most work places where the Big Shots that need it the least get the gravy, and the ones that actually do the work get the left overs!
And is there anything your Union can do about this under Collective Bargaining?
I already knew about the Sick Leave policy which is also a disgrace!
I'm not sure what you mean.
Are you asking what it's like to live in Chicago, or are you asking how many hours you'd work, how much rest you'd get, etc?
The checks I've been getting do not have an accompanying breakdown of the sources. As I said, I don't truly understand the system, although it's been "explained" to me numerous times. Philosophical question: If you hear the explanation and still don't understand it, can you say the issue was ever really explained? Some of the funding comes from Railroad Retirement, and some comes from Social Security, but it is all administered through Railroad Retirement. At least one "explanation" says that the difference is actually just a matter of administration, and you still get as much as you would if the S.S.I. portion was paid through S.S.I. I can only say that after 52 years in the work force, I was expecting more.
The health insurance is pretty good for employees. I had an inguinal hernia repair, lower back surgery, neck surgery, and two hip replacements during my time at Amtrak; and except for losing the months for Railroad Retirement credit, I did pretty well. Hopefully Amtrak will continue to provide that for employees. I'm now on Medicare, but I'm continuing my Amtrak policy as a supplemental, so I should have the same coverage when all's said and done. Basically the same for dental. I had a conversation with a waitress recently and we concluded that with wait staff, it's the knees that go; with Onboard Service, it's the hips. Of course, that's an over-generalization.
Forgot to address your question about Union involvement. I don't know how much the Union can do about the terms of the 401-K, but I suspect not too much. As I've said many times before, the Union is a valuable thing for the employees, but its real power nowadays is grossly exaggerated. Many of the exaggerations come from people who are opposed to Unions because it's in their financial interests to oppose them; or from people who are such staunch believers in rugged individualization that they oppose all collective action; or from past or present Union members who resent paying the dues; or from people who have no personal involvement with Unions, but believe what they've been told by anti-Unionists; or from people who didn't pay attention in history class; and probably lots of people with other ideas and agendas.
The Unions savor whatever victories they get, and lick their wounds after every setback. We had an issue over layover time a few years ago. The proposed new contract said O.B.S. crews were guaranteed a certain minimum layover time at turnaround points. Those of us on the Auto Train realized immediately that our layover time was shorter, so we would either get a schedule adjustment, or pay for the time. We voted to accept the contract, but the Company insisted that we were an exception to the new rule. That didn't make sense to us because the contract did not mention any such exception. We took it to an "impartial" arbitrator, who agreed with the Company. Go figure.
When I hear about excessive Union power in 2014, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
The Railroad Retirement system predates Social Security. As I understand it, when Social Security was established, Railroad Retirement was redefined to be made up of "Tiers", with the first tier being whatever Social Security would have paid (basically), and the later tiers being the excess over that. (Railroad Retirement provides more money than Social Security. Unfortunately Social Security really doesn't provide very much.)
I have been out of work for a while. I just accepted a position at a bank for a bank position at 13.00 a hour. I received a call from a resume I submitted to amtrak to be a assistant train conductor. I am supposed to start training for the bank on Monday. On Tuesday Amtrak wants me to go to Chicago for testing. Should I take the for sure job or forgo the bank job and go for testing with Amtrack.
The for sure job you fool.
I don't know about that.....if your heart is set on working for Amtrak, and you think you're well qualified with a good chance of getting hired, I would go for the Amtak job. I may be wrong, but believe that it is much easier to get another opportunity to get a job as a bank teller, than getting on at Amtrak....
Of course if you're in "dire straits" financially, then perhaps it would be better to take a sure offer...
If your financially able to live while trying for the Amtrak job until you are actually hired and start training,I say go for it!
Working in a bank for a sub- middle class wage for awhile is OK if there is a chance for advancement and its a career track job with benefits etc but knowing how the economy is and what greed heads most financial institutions are I'd think this is not for me!
Good luck, keep us posted! Hope to ride your train someday if you go with the Amtrak opportunity!
In this economy, unless you are independently wealthy, you are an idiot to not take a job offered to you that you can do. I have an MBA working for me; you don't want to know what I pay him- it would make you sad.
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