More UP layoffs looming?

The famed train company has a questionable safety history in Roseville. Now it’s laying off employees

Union Pacific won’t say how recent layoffs across the western United States have affected its Roseville railyard, though it has acknowledged that more workforce reductions could be coming.

UP spokeswoman Hannah Bolte said that the 475 cuts announced in October were carried out by the end of 2018. The rail company has roughly 42,000 workers. Bolte declined to specify how many employees were laid off at each UP site.

City of Roseville spokesman Brian Jacobson said that the layoffs were system-wide and not isolated to Roseville. He added that the city hadn’t received a WARN Act letter, which is required under California law for cuts of at least 50 employees at a site within a 30-day period.

That said, Bolte has publicly acknowledged that the October layoffs “would be the first of additional workforce reductions through 2019” as part of a plan to make the company more competitive.

The recent cuts come despite UP announcing last week that it had posted operating revenue of $5.8 billion for the fourth quarter of 2018, a 6 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.

Fewer employees at Roseville’s UP yard could exacerbate safety issues. The California Office of Emergency Services website shows that the Roseville yard had 19 incidents since the beginning of October, including an employee being treated for an injury. The Roseville yard also had a major fuel spill into a local creek in late 2016, as well as a faulty train engine spewing soot across an entire neighborhood in a separate accident.