July 24, 2009
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---In a story News 12 broke early this morning, 170 of about 235 workers at the TTX railcar maintenance shop will be furloughed for at least 60 days starting August 7. Their corporate office tells us some staff will be kept on in order to meet current projects and orders.
The company blames the furloughs on slow business in the rail industry.
TTX has 190 hourly workers at the plant on Hamburg Road. TTX makes railroad cars and also refurbishes rail cars for many American railroads.
It's something nobody wanted to hear, but is becoming all too familiar: furloughs. This time at the TTX Shop, where workers will be out of a job--and likely out of Cassandra Robinson's nearby Wife Saver restaurant.
"It's not good for them as well as it's not good for us," she says. "This could be an exception to where we won't be as packed any. We may be slow to where some of us have to come home (from work early)."
It's thousands of dollars in our local economy, likely gone. "Hopefully 60 days don't turn into three months, if not longer," says Cassandra.
Therein lies the catch. TTX blames the slowing economy for the furloughs. They tell News 12 they will get the shop back up to speed when the industry picks back up again.
"The economy is already bad as it is," says Cassandra. "This could be hurtful." Hurtful not only at Wife Saver and at the shop, but to the entire economy in the most inopportune time.
The affected workers will continue to get company health and welfare benefits during the furloughs. They are eligible to file for unemployment during the 60 day period, which could be extended based on the economy.
There is another shop just like the one in North Augusta in Jacksonville, Florida. We are told they are also experiencing furloughs, which start this coming Monday, July 27.
The company tells us that in past furloughs they have had employees work three weeks on and then have a week off of work.