HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A manufacturing facility in Cherokee will be closing its doors for good.
On September 10, FreightCar America, Inc. announced they’re beginning the process to permanently close a manufacturing facility in Cherokee, laying off many employees in the area.
The Shoals location will remain open and in full production through the end of the year to fulfill its 2020 order commitments. They say the difficult decision comes at a time in the industry of historically low demand for new freight cars coupled with the realities of COVID-19.
“Our vision was to maintain a permanent presence in Shoals. However, with the depressed rail car market and the devastating impact and ongoing threat of COVID-19, we were left with no choice,” said Jim Meyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of FreightCar America.
“Please know we will focus on our people and do our absolute best to take care of them and our customers as we move through this unfortunate reality together,” Meyer added.
The company says employee layoffs will come in stages and begin on November 9, 2020 and continue through February 28, 2021, by which time all layoffs are expected to be complete. The majority of layoffs will come in December. All affected employees will be offered a bonus payment in return for staying until their assigned completion date.
In addition, the company will be coordinating with the state and several other companies to ensure these employees will be provided the best possible job transition assistance and opportunities.
FreightCar America will continue operations and production at their other facilities.