BNSF announces rehire of 4,000 furloughed employees

BNSF has announced they are moving to rehire 4,000 previously furloughed employees, as rail traffic begins to pick up:

BNSF Railway Co has called back roughly 4,000 of the 5,000 workers who were furloughed across its system last year, reflecting stronger volumes of coal, grain and intermodal containers and trailers, a spokesman said…BNSF, the top U.S. coal carrier, laid off roughly 5,000 employees from mid-2015 to early 2016…BNSF brought back roughly 4,000 of those workers as coal volumes rose this year, along with high levels of grain and upticks in intermodal containers and trailers, and sand used in hydraulic fracturing, spokesman Zak Andersen said.

The major U.S. railroads, including BNSF, are locked in strained contract negotiations with six unions representing more than 85,000 workers. BNSF’s worker recall has not been uniform across its system…Fewer workers were back along traditional coal routes in the lower Midwest, Andersen said…People also remained out of work in Superior, Wisconsin, one employee said. BNSF laid off 25 machinists in Glendive, Montana, and closed its Murray Yard in Kansas City, cutting 29 machinists, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said in April.