Motive Power, a Boise-based freight rail company, will lay off “close to half” of its workforce this summer, its general manager told the Statesman on Tuesday.
John Howard, vice president and GM, notified employees in Boise of the layoffs Tuesday afternoon. The company recently filed a layoff notice with the state under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
Howard said the positions being eliminated are across the company, including management, engineering, administrative staff and direct labor. The employees work at the company’s offices at 4600 Apple St. and 210 Braniff St. in Boise.
Motive Power is a subsidiary of Wabtec Global Services. The company works on design, manufacture and remanufacture of diesel-electric locomotives.
“There’s been a major downturn in the freight business, and that is impacting us. Our customers — the Class I railroads — have curtailed their capital spending for 2017,” Howard said in an interview.
Motive Power is wrapping up work on some contracts that are ending. Small groups of employees will be laid off “every couple of weeks or so” as the work winds down, Howard said.
He said he is working to keep some of the employees whose jobs are headed for elimination.
There are “definite possibilities that I could win some more work and maybe not impact as many people” as are included in the WARN notice, he said.