Union Pacific to layoff 750 U.S. employees amid broader cost-cutting

FILE PHOTO: A Union Pacific rail car is parked at a Burlington National Santa Fe (BNSF) train yard in Seattle, Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017.  REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A Union Pacific rail car is parked at a Burlington National Santa Fe (BNSF) train yard in Seattle, Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

Union Pacific Corp said on Wednesday it will cut roughly 500 management jobs and 250 railroad workers by mid-September as the No. 1 U.S. railroad continues broader cost-cutting.

The layoffs, which represent about 8 percent of its management force, will largely hit employees in Omaha, Nebraska, where the company is based, but will also affect locations across its network, the company said.

The company has roughly 42,000 employees across 23 U.S. states.

“Union Pacific for some time has leveraged employee attrition and technology to reduce general and administrative costs,” Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz said in a statement. “Unfortunately, attrition alone will not keep pace with our need and ability to reduce these costs.”

News of the cuts comes about a month after Union Pacific said it expects to cut costs by between $350 million to $400 million this year.

The layoffs come as Union Pacific, like other major U.S. railroads, saw a resurgence in coal volumes this year but has been hit over the past two years by precipitous declines as utilities switched to burning cheaper natural gas and the strong U.S. dollar hurt coal exports.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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