Amtrak says it will close its Riverside reservation center in January, laying off all 550 employees.
The company announced the move in a message emailed to workers Nov. 14. Operations in Riverside will cease Jan. 18, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
In the message, Tim Griffin, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said operations in Riverside would be consolidated with its reservation center in Philadelphia.
Griffin wrote that about 90 percent of Amtrak’s customers now book their travel online and that over the last five years, the number of calls received at contact centers has declined by close to 3 million calls. He wrote that “at our busiest time, only 25 percent of our agents are on the phone at the same time.”
Workers and union leaders who represent Amtrak employees, however, claim Amtrak has contracted with a third-party operator in Florida and are paying workers there less money. The minimum wage in Florida is $8.25. Griffin’s email does not mention the outsourced operation.
The memo did say Amtrak will sell the Riverside facility.
Sal Rodriguez, president of Local 2511 of the Transportation and Communication Union which represents Amtrak workers in Riverside, said call center employees earn between $15 and $28 hourly.
Rodriguez said Amtrak is making it possible for some Riverside workers to relocate to Philadelphia, where operations will be expanded.
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