Dutch, your preaching unionism and solidarity to the wrong coast. Now let me speak from 24 years as a railroad worker and as an insider to the early years of Metrolink.
The SCRRA operates Metrolink through the use of subcontractors. The idea was to limit any liability on SCRRA's part. I guess as a result of the tragic Chatsworth incident, it really didn't fly. The SCRRA is very anti union and during the Amtrak years of operation, Amtrak workers were the only unionized workers there. All facility, signal and track maintenance was handled by non union employees, MP&E maintenance was performed by Amtrak shop craft employees. All functions of Metrolink were individual contract, MOW (Herzog) Signal (Herzog) Operations (Amtrak) and locomotive & car maintenance (Amtrak). In 1998 the maintenance portion of the contract was set to expire and was placed for public bid. Two companies bid on the contract : Amtrak & Bombardier. Bombardier was later disqualified from the bidding process for technical reasons. Amtraks bid was publicly announced and for some reason Bombardier was allowed to resubmit the bid with full knowledge of Amtrak's bid proposal. Bombardier was lowest bidder and awarded the contract, and non union. As far as the Amtrak/Metrolink shop craft employees sticking around for the new company? Hardly the case. BNSF hires 18 of Amtrak/Metrolink's 24 electricians and 15 of Amtrak/Metrolink's 25 machinists in May 1998. Most of the other members of the shop craft employees at Taylor were absorbed in Amtrak Intercity and scattered to the wind. Point of fact: during the Amtrak years at Metrolink for maintenance there was a consistent locomotive availability rate of 98%, in less then one week after the Northridge earthquake we doubled our operating capacity with little affect on the rest of the system. During the Amtrak operating years there were ZERO passenger fatalities.
For the non railroaders here, as Dutch states the union is for worker protection. Depending on the agreement with a particular shop craft, there is a probation time of X amount of days and the company during that time frame can dismiss an employee for any reason without due process of the collective bargaining agreement. I speak as former union representative and I am very intimate in my knowledge of how things work and why. Getting back to the original statement, current railroad employees should not be required to take any personality profile in order to retain their jobs. As for new hires, as stated above the union has no authority until the specified probation time expires and the prospective employee is voted into the union by it's members, and the initiation fee is paid.
"We are all here because we are not all there."