ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Approximately 86 employees working for Norfolk Southern at the locomotive shop in Juniata were laid off on Friday morning.
According to Norfolk Southern Spokesperson Jeff DeGraff, employees working in their mechanical department were furloughed as part of a long-term business plan by the company that he says will best serve the needs of their customers.
In addition, 16 positions that were vacant will no longer be filled.
“We appreciate the hard work and commitment of all the men and women on the Thoroughbred Team and will work with furloughed employees on opportunities to apply for open positions, elsewhere in our system,” said DeGraff.
Congressman John Joyce provided a statement regarding the furloughs and committed to helping those affected find new job opportunities.
“It is incredibly disappointing that Norfolk Southern has chosen to furlough members of the workforce at the Juniata Locomotive Shops,” Joyce said. “These hardworking Pennsylvanians are valuable members of our community and part of our local tradition of railroad excellence.”
“We’re very saddened and disappointed to hear this. It was a business decision on the part of Norfolk Southern,” Senator Judy Ward said. “All the elected officials locally will be working with our partners, our state and federal partners to try to get all the help that we possibly can for these displaced workers.”
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In February 2020 Norfolk Southern announced 85 positions would be opening or transferring to Altoona after closing operations at the Roanoke, Va. locomotive shop. Previously between May and November 2019, more than 200 workers at Norfolk Southern in Altoona were laid off.