ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Norfolk Southern has laid off 100 more employees at the Juniata Locomotive shop in Altoona.
WTAJ received several messages, and we were able to confirm the layoffs with Stephen McKnight, President and CEO of Altoona Blair County Development Corporation. He said the layoffs are a part of Norfolk Southern’s move towards a new way of freight transportation.
“They’re doing it more efficiently in different aspects of their operations, which is obviously causing different types of sizing of their work force to meet that technological demand, and, from what we understand, this is part of that movement,” he said.
In a statement, Norfolk Southern said:
In today’s rapidly changing environment, Norfolk Southern continues to focus on ensuring that we have the optimal number of people and assets at every location across our system in order to operate safely and efficiently. As we execute our new strategic plan, we expect that targeted hiring and furloughing will remain components of our operating model. Today, that entailed the furlough of approximately 100 employees at the Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Furloughed employees will have the opportunity to apply for positions elsewhere at Norfolk Southern.
This comes after the company laid off employees in May of this year.
Altoona’s Mayor, Matt Pacifico also released a statement today:
I was disappointed to learn this morning that Norfolk Southern has chosen to furlough 100 additional workers at the Juniata locomotive repair facility. I feel company officials were not forth-coming when asked about future layoffs during last week’s visit to Altoona with members of the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee. My thoughts are with those employees and their families as they begin this difficult period of transition. I pledge to offer any support I can, and encourage those affected employees to utilize the assistance being offered by the PA CareerLink Rapid Response Team. I am committed to the future success of our great city and will do whatever I can to encourage new business development.
Lawmakers John Joyce, Judy Ward, Jim Gregory, and Lou Schmitt also released statements.
It is deeply disappointing that Norfolk Southern has chosen to reduce its workforce in central Pennsylvania – especially as this announcement comes just one day after our nation paused to celebrate the value of American workers. In Congress, I am fighting to pass pro-growth, pro-worker legislation to support these hardworking Americans, and I am committed to helping families affected by this news to move forward in our region.Congressman John Joyce
My heart goes out to these individuals who will be negatively impacted by these layoffs. We need to make sure that everything that can be done is done to provide the needed support for these workers and their families.State Senator Judy Ward
I join my fellow legislators in offering my support to those in the 80th district who face these job losses. We will work together to bring more jobs to Blair County. We also need to encourage our business leaders to work with us to develop new ways of dealing with the changing landscape of rail service jobs in Blair and Pennsylvania.State Representative Jim Gregory
My thoughts are with these hard-working railroaders and their families in this time of great difficulty for them. It is my understanding that these displaced railroaders will have the opportunity to apply for jobs within the Norfolk Southern system. My office stands ready to help facilitate assistance through the relevant state governmental agencies.State Representative Lou Schmitt