AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Approximately 140 BNSF Railway workers in the Amarillo area have been placed on furlough, and the company is hoping an incentive program may help them return to work.
Amarillo is a major operation port for the company. About 80 trains travel in and out of Amarillo daily, and it takes a lot of man power to make those shipments possible.
To bring workers back to their jobs the company is offering a voluntary retirement and resignation incentive to train, yard, and engine employees with 10 or more years experience. The company's hope is to buyout these employees and reduce the number of furloughed workers.
"What we want to do is reduce the number of employees in or on the furlough status," said Joseph Faust, Director of Public Affairs for BNSF Railway. "We certainly hope that volumes will improve and that the employees who are on that furlough status will be called back to work."
More than 4,800 cutbacks have occurred throughout the company because freight volumes are lower than expected.
"When the traffic volumes are lower than expected we have to adjust the number of employees to meet the needs to move to the trains safely and efficiently in that area," Faust said.
Chairman at the local Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen union feel these job losses will affect the workers and our local economy.
Train, yard, and engine workers make between $75,000 to $100,000 a year, and when they are not making money they are not spending as much. The chairman said BNSF has done an incentive like this before but it was not successful because they were only seeking conductors.
However, the chairman has high hopes for the offer this time around.
The company expects to see employees taking their voluntary retirements beginning next month.