Sale of RailAmerica means shutdown and layoffs

On Thursday afternoon, Gabe Lazzaro, VP, Human Resources for RailAmerica, announced the permanent elimination of more than 50 full time positions as part of the sale of its railroads to Genesee & Wyoming Inc., according to a memorandum to Historic City News and the employees of its Jacksonville headquarters.

The Fullerton Street headquarters for the short-line railroad, that, at one time, included the Florida East Coast Railway among its affiliates, is expected to begin a full shutdown in February. The notification was provided pursuant to the requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

“We are giving you this notice so that you will have sufficient time to consider your employment alternatives,” Lazzaro and Genesee and Wyoming Chief Human Resources Officer, Matthew Brush, told the understandably concerned Jacksonville team.

The company has been looking into the possibility of consolidating RailAmerica operations into their headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut. They received $2.3 billion of committed debt financing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and $800 million of committed equity financing from The Carlyle Group.

According to Thursday’s announcement, the Jacksonville employees do not have transfer, reassignment, or bumping rights; meaning that they do not have the right to take another employee’s job because of the “plant closing or mass layoff at the Fullerton Street location”.

In addition to the media and local employees, the company notified the mayor of the City of Jacksonville and the State of Florida REACT office in order to “lessen the impact of these events” on those whose position is being eliminated.