More jobs at Bailey Yard were cut on Thursday, and like last time, UP is cutting back in the mechanical department.
Sixteen electricians, 16 machinists, 9-10 firemen-oilers and 4 pipe fitters were laid off, effective April 22.
That will completely eliminate the pipe fitter jobs.
Those jobs are centered around the diesel shop.
UP said the cuts are in part of its Unified 2020 plan to streamline the entire operation. The company intends to make trains longer – double or triple the standard train length of one mile – and use fewer locomotives.
“Implementation of Unified Plan 2020 continues to drive our locomotive fleet size down,” the company said in a notice to employees. “Consolidations in intermodal traffic… will lead to reductions in mechanical support…”
Union officials fear there will be more reductions next quarter, a local chairman told the Bulletin.
The pipe fitters hooked up train lines, the piping on water systems, changed out toilet parts and maintained the boilers that create hot water and steam, a local union official said.
The firemen-oilers will pick up the toilet work, and machinists will be expected to take over other pipe fitter jobs.
The four pipe fitters reportedly each had 15-20 years of experience.
Workers on each of the three shifts will be restructured according to seniority. Those at the bottom of the seniority lists and lose their jobs will receive four months of health insurance and be eligible for unemployment benefits.
As of yet, there are no reports of layoffs in the car department.
Bob Borgeson, an official with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation worker’s union, said the cuts will compromise safety.
“SMART-TD members rely on electricians, machinists and all the other crafts to keep their job safe,” Borgeson said.
Borgeson also criticized UP’s Unified 2020 plan.
“It isn’t precision railroading to me, it’s precision bean counting,” he quipped.
On Feb. 2 at Bailey Yard, 84 positions were cut — 11 pipe fitters, 26 electricians, 35 machinists and 12 firemen-oilers.
On March 25, 8 positions at Bailey Yard’s Union Pacific Fruit Express operation were eliminated, leaving 17 jobs in that department.
Union Pacific announced a workforce reduction in October of approximately 475 employees across the system, along with about 200 contract positions.