Union Pacific — one of America’s biggest railroad companies — unleashed a second wave of layoffs to its workforce in spite of being one of the biggest benefactors of Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts.
Union Pacific announced on Monday around 40 more positions will be eliminated along with the nearly 500 jobs already being cut. Additionally, 200 contractors will lose their jobs.
The firings come on the heels of the $6 billion dollar tax break Union Pacific received following President Trump’s corporate tax cut package that passed in December of 2017. The announcement was made in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission back in January of this year.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company released a statement defending their firing of employees by saying it was a necessary component for implementing its new business structure — dubbed Unified Plan 2020 — adding the end goal is that “Union Pacific remains a strong, competitive and vibrant company.”
The newest wave of layoffs are taking place around the Little Rock, Arkansas area.
Union Pacific also reported record revenue for the third quarter of this year at $1.6 billion, compared to $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2017.
“While we reported solid financial results, we did not make the service and productivity gains that we expected during the quarter. However, we are making progress implementing our new Unified Plan 2020 and we are well positioned to drive improvement going forward,” said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO.
In 2017, Fritz’s total compensation amounted to more than $11.3 million. Approximately $3 million of that was in gross salary and bonuses, with the remaining $8 million coming from stock. Earlier this year, Union Pacific announced it would be buying back $20 billion in shares of its own stock between 2018 and 2020 — which drives up the value of the stock owned by executives like Fritz.
Brandon Howard is a Grit Post contributor, auto worker, and former public radio reporter based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @mrpowerhoward.