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Roadway to move 196 jobs

November 30, 1999|By KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

karenh@herald-mail.com

About 200 workers face the choice of losing their jobs or moving elsewhere as part of a restructuring plan that will eliminate about two-thirds of the positions at Hagerstown's Roadway Express terminal.

"Everybody has a chance to follow the work, but whether you want to go, that's the big thing," truck driver Mike Mimnall said Tuesday.

According to a reorganization plan that takes effect March 12, Hagerstown's East Oak Ridge Drive terminal, which employs about 292 people, will lose 196 positions, Teamsters Local 992 Secretary-Treasurer Tom W. Krause said. Based on their seniority and current job classifications, workers will have the opportunity Sunday to bid on jobs that are being added at locations throughout the country, Krause said.

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Roadway Express workers make up the second-largest group represented by Teamsters Local 992, which has about 1,250 members, Krause said.

Roadway Express officials did not return calls to their offices over several days by Herald-Mail reporters.

In a statement on Roadway Express' Web site, President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Smid said the company is working to cut down on the time it takes to move shipments.

"The changes to our transportation network will be significant and will address customer expectations for faster service," Smid wrote in his quarterly column at the beginning of this year.

The changes will allow the company to move shipments from coast to coast in four days, and in many markets, distances of 1,000 miles or less will be covered in two days or less, Smid wrote.

The restructuring is part of an company-wide effort to cut delivery times, Krause said. Overall, 955 jobs are being lost at locations including Hagerstown and Greenville, S.C., while 955 jobs will be added to locations throughout the country, Krause said.

The company will add a total of 47 road drivers, Krause said.

Among the biggest winners are Chicago, Buffalo, Dallas, Columbus and Akron, Ohio, where the company has its headquarters, according to information provided by Krause.

"The bottom line is the company decided they needed to improve their transit times in a service-competitive field by making more points with direct loads," Krause said.

Originally, 201 positions in Hagerstown were targeted for elimination, Krause said. He said the union was able to keep four drivers and three mechanics at the terminal, some of which were targeted in the initial plan, which was approved Feb. 1.

The 196 positions being cut include 90 dock employees, six clerical employees, 64 road drivers, seven mechanics and 29 switchers, who are responsible for backing tractor-trailers into the docks, Krause said.

A resident of the Hagerstown area, Mimnall said he plans to bid on jobs in Bristol, Tenn., Knoxville, Tenn., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Meridian, Miss.

"If I got to go, I'll go south," said Mimnall.

Though he has been driving trucks about 20 years, Mimnall said he might not have enough seniority to get his pick of new sites. After a stint of about nine years with Roadway Express, Mimnall said he quit for about four years before returning to the company.

Mimnall, who turns 49 in March, and his wife live in a 2-year-old house in Hagerstown. Their son, daughter and granddaughter all live nearby, he said.

"I really don't want to leave. I've got my kids and my grandkid (here), but I'm at that age where it's hard to find anything," Mimnall said.

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