[Comments on Amtrak Labor Protection Issues]

B-277814: Published: Oct 20, 1997. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information concerning the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), focusing on whether: (1) the United States would be liable for Amtrak's labor protection obligations in the event of a partial or complete discontinuance of passenger service; (2) Amtrak and its employees could negotiate changes to existing labor protection arrangements without legislation; (3) Amtrak and its employees could mutually agree to alter the current statutory restriction on Amtrak's contracting out of non-food service work; and (4) Amtrak's pending non-labor protection liabilities would be attributable to the United States in the event of an Amtrak bankruptcy. GAO noted that: (1) legitimate differences of opinion exist with respect to questions about the rights and obligations of the United States in the event of an Amtrak bankruptcy; and (2) GAO continues to believe that: (a) the United States would not be liable for the labor protection obligations arising from a partial or complete discontinuance of passenger service; (b) modifications to Amtrak's labor protection obligations would require legislation; (c) Amtrak's labor and management are not free to alter the current restriction on Amtrak's contracting out of non-food service work; and (d) the United States would not be liable for Amtrak's pending non-labor protection obligations in the event of a bankruptcy.

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