Alaska Railroad to Lay Off 29 Employees
Another 25 vacant positions won't be filled
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) is laying off 29 people in an effort to cut costs. Another 25 vacant positions will not be filled.
ARRC President Christopher Aadnesen said the eliminated positions will save the company about $4.5 million a year in salary and benefit costs.
He said the railroad has lost about $45 million since 2011 due to several reasons, including a decrease in federal funding and a $15 million drop in revenue from coal and gas freight customers.
A majority of the people let go are part of the management staff and the rest are union workers. Aadnesen said the cuts will help the company in the long run.
“It means we'll be in a better position to weather new storms as they come along. Hopefully we can hang on and function like we always have during that period and hope some of the revenue comes back in its old form or with new clients we find that want to bring products into Alaska,” said Aadnesen.
He also said current customers and passengers shouldn’t notice a difference in operations.
“If you're a shipper who uses our freight services or a passenger on the trains or you're stopped at a road crossing watching the train go by or studying it in school, it will look the same. Where it will look different is inside the company.”
This is the third round of cuts for ARRC. In 2008 the company eliminated 191 positions because of the economic downturn and cut 52 positions—mostly seasonal jobs—early last year.