Union Pacific to cut hundreds of management jobs; impact on Idaho not known

Union Pacific will cut hundreds of management jobs as the amount of coal shipped by railroads continues to plunge.

The Omaha, Neb. company reported late last month that coal volume dropped 26 percent in its most recent quarter and said it believed that demand for coal would remain weak for the rest of the year.

Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said Thursday that the cutbacks were job eliminations, not just temporary layoffs. He wouldn’t confirm a specific number or say where the cuts would fall in the coming months.

Union Pacific reported employing 924 Idahoans in 2014 with an $85 million payroll. The railroad’s tracks along the Snake River carry heavy amounts of transcontinental traffic, including Idaho fertilizer, refrigerated products, malt and barley, lumber and building materials, and food and beverages. Terminals in Nampa and Pocatello are hubs for branch lines and serve as crew-change points.

The company says severance packages will be available for some who will lose their jobs.