Robbing Peter

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Amtrak's commission cut could save the railroad approximately $13.8 million in the coming year, but Amtrak said it will commit part of the savings toward making it easier for agents to sell rail travel electronically. Oh sure, since Amtrak halved its basic commission rate, agents want nothing more than an easier way to sell rail travel.

Those behind the proposed Travel Agents Guild have, for the moment, dropped plans to allow agency owners to be members but will try to get them to increase employees' pay by 15 cents per hour to pay for their union dues. Agency owners will likely to have something to say about this, and the guild, as well as front-liners, likely will retort. As that cyclical debate begins its inevitable descent toward counterproductivity, let's hope somebody remembers that the original intent of the guild was to strengthen the trade's position in its dealings with the airlines.

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