• ACF Milton, PA receives new contract

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by bwparker1
Railcar maker inks deal for 1,400 units, hiring at least 125
By Michael Redding Editor
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2007 11:58 AM CDT

http://www.standard-journal.com/article ... news01.txt

MORE SPARKS WILL BE FLYING — An ACF Industries employee does some work Thursday morning as news breaks that the Milton plant will be adding somewhere between 125 and 225 new workers. ACF recently inked a deal to manufacture 1,400 railcars. The work will begin in August and should keep the plant busy through 2009. Photo by Kevin Mertz/Standard Journal

MILTON — Like the mythical Phoenix, one of Milton’s oldest and most venerable firms will be surging back to life in the coming weeks.

Employees will be sparking torches and punching time clocks at ACF industries with more regularity thanks to a new contract.

The tanker railcar manufacturer, which hasn’t rolled out a new car since January 2004, recently inked a deal with American Railcar Industries (ARI) for 1,400 units. That, according to ACF officials, should keep the Milton plant busy through the beginning of 2009.

“This is good news for ACF, and for the community,” said Gary Rager, senior director of human resources at ACF.

Rager said the deal will balloon the Milton firm’s payroll to 325 by mid-August, when work on the contract is expected to begin. The first cars should be rolling out of ACF in September.

Currently, there are about 100 people working at the North Arch Street plant. According to a company press release, those 100 staffers have been kept busy manufacturing parts and sub-assemblies for railcar and non-railcar companies. Another 100 workers were laid off over the last three years as ACF’s railcar contract work dried up. Those employees will be given the first chance to return to work.

“We may get all of the people who were laid off or we may get half; we just don’t know,” said Rager. “The difference between the 325 workers we need and the 100 we have and the 100 who will be asked to return will be the number of positions we will be filling.”

In other words, the plant could be hiring anywhere from 125 to 225 Valley residents.

Rager added maintenance staff have already been recalled to prepare the plant for the reinvigorated production schedule.

Although a local union representative could not be reached for comment, Rager said United Steelworkers has been “very cooperative” during the negotiation process. He added the union was “on board” with the company’s plans.

Rager said talks between ACF and ARI began months ago, but because ARI is a publicly held entity, details were guarded.

ARI began as a subsidiary of ACF Industries. With growing success, the St. Charles, Mo-based manufacturer severed its ties with ACF and in 2005 became a publicly traded company.

Billionaire financier Carl C. Icahn owns majority stock in ARI and controls ACF.

The local branch of ACF began as Milton Car Works in 1864. It is credited with rolling out the nation’s first tanker railcar.