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9/26/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

NS offers voluntary 'separation' program to non-union employees


Class Is continue to whittle down their workforces. On Sept. 26, Norfolk Southern Corp. announced it's implementing a voluntary separation program for non-agreement employees with at least two years of service.

The program offers severance pay of three weeks' salary for each year of employment, free continued health insurance for one year and outplacement assistance for up to 90 days. In most cases, voluntary separations will become effective Oct. 31.

"The program is designed to achieve … a reduction in overall staff, and an internal restructuring to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Norfolk Southern's non-agreement work force," said Jim Hixon, NS senior vice president of administration, in a prepared statement.

Since 1980, the total Class I workforce has been reduced by more than half, from 580,000 to 206,000, said Burlington Northern Sante Fe Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Rose during a speech at Railway Supply Institute Inc.'s 42nd annual convention Sept. 22 in Chicago.

However, Rose expects Class Is' workforce subtractions to level off and employment levels to rise modestly next year because half of the large roads' workers will reach retirement age in six years.


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