Amtrak Employees and RPA

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Bembidion

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I'm curious, does anyone frequenting these forums know if Amtrak employees are allowed to be members of the Rail Passengers Association? I asked a couple of Amtrak employees yesterday while in New Haven, CT and neither knew the answer. The only reason I can think that they may not be allowed to join would be some kind of conflict of interest issue. The man at the ticket window became very curious when I asked and said that he was going to ask his supervisor at some point.
 

jis

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I'm curious, does anyone frequenting these forums know if Amtrak employees are allowed to be members of the Rail Passengers Association? I asked a couple of Amtrak employees yesterday while in New Haven, CT and neither knew the answer. The only reason I can think that they may not be allowed to join would be some kind of conflict of interest issue. The man at the ticket window became very curious when I asked and said that he was going to ask his supervisor at some point.
In the past many Amtrak employees including one of the CEO's right hand man have been members of AU and even occasionally participated in discussions. That was before Anderson tried his level best to destroy the company. I don't know what the situation is AA (After Anderson).

In general Amtrak had become quite opaque during the Anderson regime when he stopped publishing any detailed financials etc as Boardman used to, and instead did the minimum required by law. I guess the rest of the information made it harder for him to spin the nonsensical yarn that he was prone to. Things are very slowly improving due partly to prodding by Congress. But they still have ways to go to reach the Boardman level, which itself was not necessarily something to write home about. But at least the core information was there. But they never got around to reporting their Capital accounts cogently nor did they get around to provide accounts for incremental cost of operation of each train without loading it up with the cost of bloated headquarters with many VPs floating around looking for something to keep them occupied gainfully I am told.
 

MARC Rider

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I don't know what the actual rules are, but like any bureaucracy, an employee needs to be careful about what he or she says. Some of this is perfectly reasonable -- you may have access to confidential information that you don't have the authority to divulge. And if you found out something that was so serious that it needed divulging, I don't think posting it here would be the best pace -- there is the Inspector General or the New York Times, after all. But even if stuff isn't that sensitive, most people probably don't want to be on record publicly trashing their boss.
 

AmtrakBlue

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The OP is asking about RPA not AU. Not sure if the answers above address this.
 
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neroden

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In the past many Amtrak employees including one of the CEO's right hand man have been members of AU and even occasionally participated in discussions. That was before Anderson tried his level best to destroy the company. I don't know what the situation is AA (After Anderson).

In general Amtrak had become quite opaque during the Anderson regime when he stopped publishing any detailed financials etc as Boardman used to, and instead did the minimum required by law.
Less than the minimum required by law, in fact. I can list off reports they were required to publish which they didn't publish.

I guess the rest of the information made it harder for him to spin the nonsensical yarn that he was prone to. Things are very slowly improving due partly to prodding by Congress. But they still have ways to go to reach the Boardman level, which itself was not necessarily something to write home about. But at least the core information was there. But they never got around to reporting their Capital accounts cogently nor did they get around to provide accounts for incremental cost of operation of each train without loading it up with the cost of bloated headquarters with many VPs floating around looking for something to keep them occupied gainfully I am told.
 

neroden

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I'm curious, does anyone frequenting these forums know if Amtrak employees are allowed to be members of the Rail Passengers Association? I asked a couple of Amtrak employees yesterday while in New Haven, CT and neither knew the answer. The only reason I can think that they may not be allowed to join would be some kind of conflict of interest issue. The man at the ticket window became very curious when I asked and said that he was going to ask his supervisor at some point.
Anyone is allowed to join a 501(c)(3) and advocate for passenger trains. Whether Amtrak management would retaliate against someone for doing that -- who knows? They shouldn't. In the past they have not.
 

jis

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How would Amtrak know if an employee is a member of RPA? An employer has no right to restrict employee membership in any off-duty organization. Unless the RPA is declared a terrorist organization, then anybody should free to belong.
That is quite right.

Amtrak executives are apparently restricted from being members because it introduces potential conflict of interest. But this apparently applies only to the top level executives, and no one else. Even middle managers have been members of NARP in the past AFAIR. Currently there is a very vocal Amtrak Engineer who is a member not only of RPA but of its National Council.
 
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But they still have ways to go to reach the Boardman level, which itself was not necessarily something to write home about.
In my view an incredibly poor showing by Anderflynner has made Boardman look quite competent by comparison.
 

MARC Rider

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For a good bit of my Federal career in two agencies concerned with the environment, I was a member of the Sierra Club. Absolutely no problem any way. Of course, I'm not sure how my bosses would have known that I was a member, except that maybe I told them I was taking a club excursion.

However, way back when I started, it was also the case that some of our scientists would also have leadership roles in the Sierra Club, usually in the local chapters. This could cause a problem if the chapter of which the government employee was in a leadership position decided to sue the Agency. A clear conflict of interest. It's also relevant that until recently, environmentalism had bipartisan support (Richard Nixon founded EPA), and the Sierra Club was also considered bipartisan with members and leaders from both parties. Anyway, there's no problem in belonging to the group, you just can't have a leadership role.
 
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