ATLANTA — Executives at Norfolk Southern Railway and many other rail owners around the nation are reacting to the environmental crisis following a train derailment in Ohio by taking drastic steps to reduce employee overhead, multiple sources confirmed.
“The events taking place in East Palestine are unequaled by anything in American history,” said Alan Shaw, the embattled CEO of Norfolk Southern. “The cost of this catastrophe in both human and animal life will be enormous. Norfolk Southern must take responsibility and make difficult decisions to guarantee that we never lose this much product again. Moreover, I need to hold myself accountable for the part I played in this tragedy. In order to best respond to this situation and ensure that we are answerable to the people of Ohio, sacrifices must be made. Therefore, I am announcing we are dismissing 500 rail workers effective immediately. We will mail you your checks, if you show up to our property you will be tased.”
Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz released a memo calling for solidarity among railroad franchises and stated that he would follow Shaw’s example.
“During such dire times as these, our storied industry must reforge the bonds that have kept us strong for 250 years,” Fritz wrote. “As a gesture of unity with our brothers and sisters in the Norfolk Southern boardroom, I am proud to announce that we will be reducing our own workforce by 10 percent this month, with further cuts to our maintenance department by the end of the year. Union Pacific will do whatever it takes to ensure that this tragedy does not go unmarked, even if it means firing every man, woman, and child currently keeping our trains running safely.”
CNBC correspondent Dillan Peterson praised the inspiring tone of the executives’ statements and reassured investors that the future remained bright.
“Listen, if I’m someone who’s got a heavy position in rail stocks, I’m happy with this response. I’m thrilled,” said Peterson. “You don’t usually see this kind of insight from executives. The ability to take ultimate responsibility for this whole mess and respond by selflessly firing hundreds of blue-collar employees trying to provide for their families – that’s exactly the type of leadership that tells you they’re not just going to weather the storm, they’re going to come out the other side stronger than ever. So, yes, I’m bullish on rail.”
The announcements came as a surprise to rail employees in East Palestine who were laid off midway through their shifts and have been stranded in Ohio inhaling toxic fumes for the past week.