AVON, Ind. (WISH) — Railroad transportation company CSX on Wednesday announced a second round of layoffs for 2017, cutting jobs at its division headquarters in Avon.
The last time CSX jobs made headlines was June 2, when the company announced the closure of its locomotive service center at Avon Yard. CSX never provided numbers on that round of job cuts but employees we spoke to say they heard 50 people lost their jobs, dropping down to 20 in that division. One employee estimated there were 120 working in the locomotive service center back in 2008.
Wednesday CSX spokesman Robert Doolittle published the following statement:
“As part of an ongoing company-wide review of operations, CSX continues to make adjustments throughout the Indianapolis Terminal, including at Avon Yard, to improve efficiency and safety and to better serve customers. As a result of those changes, some positions in the area have been eliminated. CSX is communicating directly with employees, customers and other stakeholders who may be affected when these changes are made. Many of the employees who are affected by this change are eligible to work in other CSX facilities.”
Avon Town Manager Tom Klein said he’s been monitoring the situation for some time and continues fielding anonymous phone calls and emails from CSX employees.
“We had a sense there might be changes coming,” Klein said. “I haven’t received anything officially from them regarding this latest change; I just saw it like everyone else did online.”
CSX claimed 1,700 Indiana employees in 2015 with a rail yard in Evansville and Avon and transfer terminal in East Chicago. It estimated the yearly employee compensation at $177.4 million in 2015.
Employees at CSX told us they didn’t feel comfortable going on camera about the job cuts, as several are hoping for a transfer elsewhere in the company, but Klein said a number have spoken privately with Avon city leaders.
“I think they’re very proud of the work they do for the railroad business and I think that they feel they are not being treated fairly by the new owner of CSX,” Klein said. “I think they feel changes are being made that are putting the railroad business at risk.”
For families now facing unemployment, Klein said to remain optimistic.
“There are about 4,000 jobs in Hendricks County that need to be filled,” he said. “And Avon’s unemployment rate is 2.6 percent. If you want to stay in Hendricks County, you can find a job in Hendricks County.”
Klein specifically pointed out 60 openings at Harlan Bakeries, available here, as well as openings at Mear’s Machine and Phoenix Fabricators. He also encouraged people to visit the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership job search site, available here.
While the job cuts at CSX won’t seriously affect Avon’s economy since the railroad pays such low property taxes, Klein said it will affect several families and also city pride.
“There’s a lot of railroad history in Avon that people still have a pride of,” Klein said. “Our town shield has the Haunted Bridge. The police shield has a train on it, so it’s an important fabric of our community.”