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Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
6,333
Location
NYC/Queens
Without knowing the details of the case, I can't comment on the validity of the DQ. But overindulging in alcohol and overindulging in alcohol and getting behind the wheel are entirely different.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,837
They're disqualifying potential chefs because they might have overindulged in alcohol at some point in their lives? They should read Anthony Bourdain's books and realize that if they disqualify because of drinking, they'll never be able to hire any chefs. I can't believe the FRA cares about past substance abuse or old DUIs of on-board service personnel. It's not like the chefs are driving the train or anything. If this is an FRA rule, it's idiotic and should be changed.
The FRA drug testing requirements do include OBS so it's likely the DUI disqualification does as well. And recently mechanical was also added into the drug testing requirements. T&E, OBS, mechanical, track department/signaling, and dispatchers are the big ones with more strict requirements and disqualifications if memory serves me correctly - someone please add in any I might have missed. Railroad police I'm sure as well.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2022
Messages
7
Location
Boston
I like trains and I especially like operating them. Operating subway trains and thundering through the tunnels under Boston was fun. One thing I realized though over a couple of months is that I really don't enjoy the stop and go of rapid transit. Going up and down 11 miles of track and stopping every 2-4 minutes then rushing to turn around at the end to do it all over again several times a day gets boring and kind of unfulfilling to me.

Combine that with having 1 man trains and having to deal with the passengers directly while operating the train and it kind of feels like a really long bus on rails. (No offense to bus operators, but that kind of thing isn't really something I see myself doing long term.) And don't let me get started on working for the T. You may be able to guess my thoughts based on how times they've popped on the news recently. That said, I left. With no job lined up.

Not the smartest move, but I've seen people there who are burnt out and feel like they're stuck because of their higher seniority and age. They all wished they jump ship years ago. They stay because the pay rate they earned by staying so long will be hard to find somewhere else at this point in their lives/career. While there are people who enjoy the job, I didn't want to be in shoes of someone that didn't, so I turned in my badge.

I used to detail cars for a large dealership for 4 years, so I applied for coach cleaner here in Boston at Amtrak just to get my foot in the door and actually got a formal offer. I hope to learn what I can from who I can about the company and about high speed railroading from the inside. So that hopefully one day I can hop back in the cab, operate a train on the NEC and fly past my old stomping ground (Orange Line) at 150mph. Well- technically the speed limit over there is 120ish I think, but you get my point.

I've had 3 interviews with Amtrak over the last year, so I've experienced first hand the tedium that is the hiring process there. This is the first time I've gotten this far. Does anyone know how long it takes after you clear the background check, vaccination status and drug test to hear back about a start date? The drug test was the last thing I did about 3 weeks ago and I haven't heard anything since. Reading though some of the threads it sounds like I would've heard something by now.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2022
Messages
13
Location
Northeast
I like trains and I especially like operating them. Operating subway trains and thundering through the tunnels under Boston was fun. One thing I realized though over a couple of months is that I really don't enjoy the stop and go of rapid transit. Going up and down 11 miles of track and stopping every 2-4 minutes then rushing to turn around at the end to do it all over again several times a day gets boring and kind of unfulfilling to me.

Combine that with having 1 man trains and having to deal with the passengers directly while operating the train and it kind of feels like a really long bus on rails. (No offense to bus operators, but that kind of thing isn't really something I see myself doing long term.) And don't let me get started on working for the T. You may be able to guess my thoughts based on how times they've popped on the news recently. That said, I left. With no job lined up.

Not the smartest move, but I've seen people there who are burnt out and feel like they're stuck because of their higher seniority and age. They all wished they jump ship years ago. They stay because the pay rate they earned by staying so long will be hard to find somewhere else at this point in their lives/career. While there are people who enjoy the job, I didn't want to be in shoes of someone that didn't, so I turned in my badge.

I used to detail cars for a large dealership for 4 years, so I applied for coach cleaner here in Boston at Amtrak just to get my foot in the door and actually got a formal offer. I hope to learn what I can from who I can about the company and about high speed railroading from the inside. So that hopefully one day I can hop back in the cab, operate a train on the NEC and fly past my old stomping ground (Orange Line) at 150mph. Well- technically the speed limit over there is 120ish I think, but you get my point.

I've had 3 interviews with Amtrak over the last year, so I've experienced first hand the tedium that is the hiring process there. This is the first time I've gotten this far. Does anyone know how long it takes after you clear the background check, vaccination status and drug test to hear back about a start date? The drug test was the last thing I did about 3 weeks ago and I haven't heard anything since. Reading though some of the threads it sounds like I would've heard something by now.
As a bus driver, you’re experiences sound very similar to what I’ve been through and what a lot of my more senior coworkers are going through. The coworkers have the “golden handcuffs”- stuck in a job they don’t like, but the pay/benefits/seniority make them to stay. I’ve made the decision to move on and start over at a commuter railroad because I also don’t want to find myself in that situation.

As for Amtrak’s speed at moving the hiring process forward, I’ve heard many different things. 3 weeks between emails in railroad hiring terms is not uncommon. The commuter railroad I applied for took 9 months from when I applied to finally getting an offer.

Since you made it to the drug testing phase, I would just be patient and maybe send them an email to ask about when to expect to hear from them.

Hopefully you hear from them soon, and good luck
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2022
Messages
7
Location
Boston
As a bus driver, you’re experiences sound very similar to what I’ve been through and what a lot of my more senior coworkers are going through. The coworkers have the “golden handcuffs”- stuck in a job they don’t like, but the pay/benefits/seniority make them to stay. I’ve made the decision to move on and start over at a commuter railroad because I also don’t want to find myself in that situation.

As for Amtrak’s speed at moving the hiring process forward, I’ve heard many different things. 3 weeks between emails in railroad hiring terms is not uncommon. The commuter railroad I applied for took 9 months from when I applied to finally getting an offer.

Since you made it to the drug testing phase, I would just be patient and maybe send them an email to ask about when to expect to hear from them.

Hopefully you hear from them soon, and good luck
Thank you. It's nice to hear that my experience isn't a rare thing.
 

Acela150

Super Buff
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
9,101
Location
Somewhere between here and there
Folks just a friendly heads up. Amtrak is having a virtual career fair of sorts. I'll include a link for those interested. It'll be on the 14th from 1pm-3pm Eastern Time. Registration Required!

 

joelkfla

Engineer
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,417
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Folks just a friendly heads up. Amtrak is having a virtual career fair of sorts. I'll include a link for those interested. It'll be on the 14th from 1pm-3pm Eastern Time. Registration Required!

Why is it called "Walk-In" when it's online?
 

JP1822

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
114
Whether its 3 weeks or 9 months to get back to a candidate - that is way too long in the current environment. Totally inefficient and waste of both Amtrak and applicant's time no less. If you have a labor shortage, not for nothing, but one must be holding these candidates hands nearly. Am I saying it's necessarily right or wrong? Just saying that's the market right now and behavior. The 3 weeks to 9 months may have worked at one time - but it doesn't work in today's environment for trying to fill positions. Yes, companies need to go through the processes of tests, background checks, etc., - not saying to ignore that - but it is so critical to keep in touch with the candidate these days. Yes, from personal and first-hand business experience. Businesses are going under or curtailing major activities due to labor shortages. Other companies have looked at "out of the box" alternatives. Amtrak operates across the nation to many stations and areas. Yes, they hire for crew bases. I get it. But can't they hire from, and look for other places right along the LD train route to get candidates. I know of at least two OBS members (one an LSA and one SCA) who actually live near the Glacier National Park area - and clearly not a local OBS crew base. They've been assigned to the Empire Builder and Coast Starlight over the years. The traditional format of hiring has evolved, and can certainly evolve when looking at Amtrak with its LD staffing - one would think.
 

Acela150

Super Buff
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
9,101
Location
Somewhere between here and there
Whether its 3 weeks or 9 months to get back to a candidate - that is way too long in the current environment. Totally inefficient and waste of both Amtrak and applicant's time no less. If you have a labor shortage, not for nothing, but one must be holding these candidates hands nearly. Am I saying it's necessarily right or wrong? Just saying that's the market right now and behavior. The 3 weeks to 9 months may have worked at one time - but it doesn't work in today's environment for trying to fill positions. Yes, companies need to go through the processes of tests, background checks, etc., - not saying to ignore that - but it is so critical to keep in touch with the candidate these days. Yes, from personal and first-hand business experience. Businesses are going under or curtailing major activities due to labor shortages. Other companies have looked at "out of the box" alternatives. Amtrak operates across the nation to many stations and areas. Yes, they hire for crew bases. I get it. But can't they hire from, and look for other places right along the LD train route to get candidates. I know of at least two OBS members (one an LSA and one SCA) who actually live near the Glacier National Park area - and clearly not a local OBS crew base. They've been assigned to the Empire Builder and Coast Starlight over the years. The traditional format of hiring has evolved, and can certainly evolve when looking at Amtrak with its LD staffing - one would think.

Please enlighten me on your hiring experiance with ANY railroad then.. And how at the drop of the dime they magically offered you a job in less then 3 weeks and had you in a new hire class.

I'm personally well aware of the LSA that lives in Montana. How is it any diffrenet then me? I lived in Philadelphia when I hired for Seattle. Their is also an LSA that lives in Montgomery, AL who works the builder.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
7
Location
New Jersey
Hey guys so I wonder what type of union is amtrak I hear of a lot of guys who are just dead wait there who do nothing but can’t be fired due to the union. Can anyone elaborate on this?
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2022
Messages
13
Location
Northeast
Hey guys so I wonder what type of union is amtrak I hear of a lot of guys who are just dead wait there who do nothing but can’t be fired due to the union. Can anyone elaborate on this?
Amtrak has several different unions. Is there a specific craft or union that you’re referring to?

Also anyone can be fired from a job whether it’s unionized or not. It just depends on how effective the union/leadership is, how effective the company’s management is, and if there are cameras or not.

At my job, if the company writes an employee up for a violation, that employee can appeal it and get union representation. Then they schedule a hearing and both sides make their case.

A common misconception about unions is that no one gets fired and there’s plenty of deadweight. Every business has deadweight. My first job was at a locally owned grocery store. The owner had his son as a cashier (the highest paid one in the store even though he only worked seasonally), his wife (the highest paid customer service representative in the store), plus some other friends of his family. Some were good, some were horrible. Regardless, none of them were fired or disciplined.
 

joelkfla

Engineer
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,417
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
A common misconception about unions is that no one gets fired and there’s plenty of deadweight. Every business has deadweight. My first job was at a locally owned grocery store. The owner had his son as a cashier (the highest paid one in the store even though he only worked seasonally), his wife (the highest paid customer service representative in the store), plus some other friends of his family. Some were good, some were horrible. Regardless, none of them were fired or disciplined.
Most likely they weren't there for their work; they were there to keep profits in the family, partially shielded from business taxes.
 
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