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UPDATE: CSX layoffs in Kentucky impact more than just rail workers

(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 15, 2016 at 5:10 PM EDT
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UPDATE 3/16/16 @ 6:30 p.m.

RUSSELL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- More than 100 employees are losing their jobs at the CSX facilities in Russell.

Tuesday afternoon, CSX leaders told 101 union and management employees in the Transportation and Mechanical departments their jobs will be cut due to the declining volume through this region, according to Melanie Cost, a CSX spokesperson.

This is out of the nearly 430 employees who work at the Russell location.

The locomotive shop is not affected, nor are the engineering employees. Some yard operations will continue.

Across the street from the rail yard, Jeff Bryan is the president of Advanced Automotive Inc. He says his business services and repairs CSX vehicles.

"We could see very many CSX vehicles on our lot in one day," Bryan said. "We also have direct relationships with the employees themselves..."

Through the years, Bryan says less CSX vehicles have been in his lot.

"I have not seen the volume of those vehicles that we used to have," Bryan said. "The divisions that we used to count on pretty steadily have disappeared. They're gone."

The most recent layoffs mean operations at the CSX mechanical car shop and at the yard will be reduced, Cost said.

Bryan says those are two of the only remaining departments that have vehicles that provide them with business. He said he is not sure what the cuts will mean for the vehicles, but he worries about the impact on his company.

"Those two divisions directly affect me, and it's a major blow," Bryan said. "You hear of the unfortunate reality of layoffs, but you can never estimate how it directly affects you until you see it on the news that morning and say, 'Wait a minute ... part of my livelihood and my employees and their families rely on that.'"

Not only is Bryan worried about losing business, he says this may force him to lay off some of his own employees. He has designated workers for fleet vehicles. Without the fleet vehicles, there's a chance he will have to make cuts.

"I'm very worried for this community," Bryan said. "I've seen CSX slowly slide out of the area along with the car shops, all the other divisions and stuff. So it's a continued impact that is very displeasing. When you build your business and you build your livelihood in a community and the community disappears, it's not a good outlook."

Bryan said it's a ripple effect that many people in the community are feeling.

Cost tells WSAZ this decision was made after a thorough review and careful consideration of all other possible options.

According to Cost, operations in Russell primarily serve coal trains moving from coal fields, and the diminished traffic levels no longer support the same level of activity.

Low natural gas prices have had a significant decrease in CSX coal movement over five years, with a $1.4 billion decline in coal revenues.

Union employees will be provided relocation opportunities and other benefits in accordance with their collective bargaining agreements. Some furloughed employees will be eligible for jobs in other areas within CSX. Affected management employees will be offered relocation opportunities or will be eligible for severance benefits, according to Cost.


ORIGINAL STORY 3/15/16

RUSSELL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- More than100 employees are losing their jobs at the CSX facilities in Russell.

Tuesday afternoon, CSX leaders told 101 union and management employees in the Transportation and Mechanical departments their jobs will be cut due to the declining volume through this region, according to Melanie Cost, a spokesperson for CSX.

This is out of the approximate total 430 employees who work at the Russell location.

The locomotive shop is not affected, nor are the engineering employees. Some yard operations will continue.

Cost tells WSAZ this decision was made after a thorough review and careful consideration of all other possible options.

According to Cost, operations in Russell primarily serve coal trains moving from coal fields and the diminished traffic levels no longer support the same level of activity.

Low natural gas prices have had a significant decrease in CSX coal movement over 5 years, with a $1.4 billion decline in coal revenues.

Union employees will be provided relocation opportunities and other benefits in accordance with their collective bargaining agreements. Some furloughed employees will be eligible for jobs in other areas within CSX. Affected management employees will be offered relocation opportunities or will be eligible for severance benefits, according to Cost.

Cost says CSX is grateful for these employee's service and are committed to supporting them during this difficult time.

CSX has recently closed the Huntington Division administrative offices and streamlined 16 of it's car shops, including one in Huntington.