How do you lose $85 million per year selling $9.50 cheeseburgers, as Amtrak reportedly has?
One way is to pay Amtrak employees 19% more in salaries and benefits than comparable private sector workers.
James W. Gillula, the managing director of the economic analysis and forecasting firm Global Insight, authored a 2007 pay analysis comparing compensation for Amtrak workers to that of similar private sector employees. Gillula found that Amtrak salaries were on average 4% lower than private sector levels. However, benefits were 81% higher than private sector levels, including 19% more paid leave, 181% more generous health coverage, and 51% more generous retirement benefits. This helps explain why, over a 7-year period, Amtrak quit rates averaged 2-3% per year while private sector quit rates were 26-27%. No one wants to give up a job with so many perks.