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Roadway says 201 jobs could leave Hagerstown

January 05, 2006|By KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

karenh@herald-mail.com

A proposal to shift trucking jobs to other parts of the country could affect about two-thirds of the workers at Hagerstown's Roadway Express terminal, a union official said Wednesday.

"They're not going to be lost, a lot of these folks, a lot of these people are going to be given the right to transfer," said Tom Krause, the secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 992, which represents workers at the Oak Ridge Drive facility.

In all, 201 jobs could be transferred from Hagerstown, Krause said.

According to Suzanne Dawson, who works at a New York City public relations firm that represents Roadway, the company is restructuring its operations. Workers across the country who are affected by the changes would have the opportunity to accept jobs at other locations, she said.

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"The details and ultimate impact on the facility are part of continuing discussions in the ongoing change-of-operations process," Dawson said, quoting Roadway President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Smid.

Members of a change-of-operations committee made up of union and company representatives will decide whether to carry out changes and which jobs and locations will be affected, Krause said. The committee meets Feb. 9, and changes would be implemented March 12, if the committee votes to move forward with the proposal, Krause said.

Though he opposes the plan, Krause said he can understand the company's reasoning. The change of operations is designed to speed up deliveries and improve service, he said.

"We're going to protest it; we're losing 201 people," Krause said.

Messages left for Smid at the company's Akron, Ohio, headquarters were routed to Dawson.

According to Tim Troxell, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, the city was notified Tuesday by letter of the changes. According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter, Troxell said the Hagerstown terminal would lose 201 jobs.

"It's a permanent layoff, and it will affect 201 people at the Oak Ridge Drive facility," Troxell said.

The facility has operated in Hagerstown since 1971, Troxell said.

According to Krause, dock workers, road drivers, mechanics, office employees and switchers, who are responsible for backing tractor-trailers into the docks, all could be affected by the possible changes. City drivers, maintenance workers and janitors, and mechanics who work on trucks used for city routes would remain at the terminal, he said.

In all, about 292 people work at the terminal, Krause said. Teamsters members fill all of the positions that could be affected, and the union contract contains language that would make them eligible for jobs added at other locations, Krause said.

Workers at Hagerstown's terminal earn about $18 an hour or more, Krause said. He said he was not sure how many workers would follow their jobs to other locations if the Hagerstown terminal's positions are moved.

"The Tri-State's growing, you know. There are jobs out there that would be comparable, but I can't say what they would be at this time," Krause said.

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