The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

July 27, 2007

FreightCar layoffs could affect 200

A state official reported Thursday that layoffs coming at FreightCar America Inc.’s Johnstown plant could affect up to 200 workers – essentially, everyone working there.

Chris Manlove, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor, said FreightCar’s furloughs will affect 180-200 workers and will be staggered throughout August. About 180 people are working at the plant now, according to a company source.

The department has been working with displaced FreightCar employees through its Rapid Response Coordination Services program since February.

In a conference call Thursday, the company gave vague answers about the status of the local plant.

“We continue to address our work force on an ongoing basis,” Chief Financial Officer Kevin Bagby said during the conference call. “We’re continuing to adjust the work force to our current demand.”

During the call, FreightCar America said second-quarter profits were down sharply from a year ago.

The company’s net income for the second quarter was $11.5 million, or 93 cents per share. That marked a decline in profits of more than $25 million from the same period last year.

Total sales for the six months ended June 30 fell more than $100 million from the same period of 2006. The company’s report showed total sales of $517.8 million for the first half of the year; last year’s first half produced $658.2 million.

Many FreightCar workers are investigating what the state’s Rapid Response team can offer.

Manlove said 90 affected workers attended a benefits rights information meeting Tuesday.

Nearly 50 workers are registered for enrollment/assessment waiver meetings Aug. 8 and 9 at the Pennsylvania CareerLink center at 200 Lincoln St., downtown Johnstown. The meetings will inform FreightCar employees about available benefits and training.

For more information on how to register for Rapid Response Coordination Services, contact Pennsylvania CareerLink: 533-2493.

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