Union Pacific Railroad Co. shops in Salt Lake City could be getting some new employees in the near future now that the company has announced it is phasing out its shops in Omaha, Neb.
In accordance with union agreements, the 810 shop employees will be entitled to bid on jobs at other UP locations, but most will be offered transfers to the shops in North Little Rock, Ark. which was built in 1984 and is used at only 35 percent of capacity.Others will be offered transfers to Salt Lake City; North Platte, Neb.; Pocatello, Idaho; DeSoto, Mo.; and Palestine, Texas.
Announcement of the closure was made Thursday in Omaha by Jerry Davis, executive vice president of operations, during a news conference in Omaha. he said the closing will result in a loss of $5 million in payroll revenues in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.
Railroad officials said 90 percent of the 469 employees in the locomotive repair shop in Omaha will be offered transfers to North Little Rock and the rest will go to Salt Lake City or North Platte.
In the car department, almost all of the 307 employees will be offered transfers, with about 100 employees going to Pocatello, 140 to DeSoto and about 15 to Palestine.
About 40 car shop employees will remain in Omaha for 18 months to complete a specialized car repair project and 34 positions in the purchasing and materials operations will be phased out.
Davis attributed the Omaha closing to competition, combined with excess repair capacity within the UP systems that is forcing a consolidation of some operations.