Inefficiencies in Amtrak’s staffing practices result in increased costs, new Inspector General report finds
WASHINGTON – Amtrak has not systematically managed its workforce at its preventative maintenance facilities resulting in unnecessary costs, a new report from Amtrak’s OIG found.
According to the report, the company has taken some positive steps to better manage the Mechanical department’s workforce, but found that it did not have a process to align its workforce with its workload at its 12 preventative maintenance facilities. At two facilities the OIG analyzed, auditors estimated that the company could save as much as $2.1 million—about 10 percent of annual labor costs at these locations—by better aligning staffing to the workload.
Current labor agreements also limit the company’s staffing flexibility, which results in inefficiencies and additional costs, according to the report. For example, employees in particular crafts are prevented from doing anything more than incidental work in another craft, regardless of whether they are trained and qualified to do so. OIG auditors also identified a potential safety issue in which some preventative maintenance employees were working 16 hours or more in a day, increasing the risk of fatigue-related incidents.
To address the report’s findings, the OIG recommended Amtrak implement a process to analyze the workforce at each preventative maintenance facility and identify opportunities to increase staffing flexibility in its labor agreements. To address the potential safety issue, the OIG further recommended that Amtrak analyze injury and work schedule data and assess whether to take additional risk-mitigation steps.
The company agreed with the OIG’s recommendations.
This is the OIG’s third report in a series examining ways Amtrak can reduce costs by addressing inefficiencies in its staffing practices across its maintenance operations.
More details are available in the full report, located on the OIG’s website: https://go.usa.gov/xV9DB.