layoffs

Navajo Transitional Energy Company

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) announced it will be hiring back 73 furloughed employees, who will be able to return to work at the Spring Creek Mine on August 3. The mine in southeastern Montana employs many Wyoming residents as well.

Yellowstone Forever

The official nonprofit organization of Yellowstone National Park laid off more than 30 employees and closed its education branch.

Image of HollyFrontier's Cheyenne Refinery on its website
HollyFrontier

HollyFrontier Corporation, a Texas-based independent petroleum refiner, announced it plans to transform its Cheyenne Refinery to focus on a new product and reduce its overall workforce by about 75 percent. Rather than producing conventional diesel, it will now look to renewable diesel.

Public Domain

Wyoming's unemployment rate more than doubled in a just month, increasing from 3.8 percent in March to 9.2 percent in April. The largest job losses were seen in the leisure and hospitality industry, with Teton County being hit the hardest at 18.3 percent due to their dependency on tourism.

NTEC's Antelope Mine - operated by Cloud Peak Energy at the time of the photo
Cloud Peak Energy

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) has laid off eight salaried employees and furloughed 93 hourly employees at its Antelope Mine. The move comes about a month after the company laid off 130 employees between its Spring Creek, in southern Montana, and Antelope mines.

In the past decade, the Decker Coal Mine sent its coal to several locations around the country. Since 2015, though, it's primary customer has been a Minnesota coal-fired power plant
U.S. Energy Information Administration

The past few months, COVID-19 has taken its toll on employment in the Powder River Basin. Weak market conditions have struck again with a new round of furloughs at the Decker Coal Mine just north of the Wyoming border in Montana.

Cooper McKim


The sun is beating down on a nearly empty gravel plot. Just a few weeks ago, trailers owned by oil field and pipeline workers lined this man camp.

BNSF Subdivision Map in Wyoming
BNSF Railway

BNSF Railway announced this week it will close two facilities in Wyoming and lay off the related employees within the next two months. The Guernsey shop is set to close on July 7, 2020 laying off 92 people; the Donkey Creek facility in Rozet is set to close on June 5, 2020 laying off 38 people.

An announcement posted at one of Arch's PRB mines submitted to Wyoming Public Radio
Anonymous

As other Powder River Basin (PRB) coal companies lay off miners by the hundred, Arch Coal, operator of the Coal Creek and Black Thunder mines, is asking its Wyoming employees to volunteer for unpaid leave without benefits.

NTEC's Antelope Mine - operated by Cloud Peak Energy at the time of the photo
Cloud Peak Energy

Two coal companies with mines in the Powder River Basin (PRB) announced lay-offs today in Peabody Energy and the Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC).

Over the next few weeks, the Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative. 

wyomingworkforce.org

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the economy, as the country—and the state—respond to a significant spike in unemployment.

Several news reporters in Wyoming lost their jobs or saw their hours cut this week, as the COVID-19 pandemic puts the squeeze on an already struggling industry.

KIEWIT

The Buckskin Mining Company laid off 60 employees across all departments ahead of schedule this week. Kiewit Corporation, the Omaha, Nebraska-based owner of the coal mine, announced March 12 to expect around 50 lay-offs due to a production decline in 2020. A public release anticipated that lay-off date to come in early April. 

Cloud Peak Energy Logo
Cloud Peak Energy

On February 12, Cloud Peak Energy laid off 15 employees in higher level positions including public affairs. The company announced serious changes were coming last November after prolonged financial difficulties. Its strategic review could mean a potential sale of the company.

Job listings posted on Plenty's website including an IT position in Laramie
Plenty

After just one year with a Wyoming facility, Plenty cut 23 of only 55 positions at the site Tuesday. Plenty is an indoor farming company based out of San Francisco. In June 2017, the company purchased the Laramie-based start-up Bright Agrotech.

Cody Laboratories Inc.

Just a few months ago Cody Laboratories was gearing for a $50.5 million expansion that would add 57 new jobs. But in April, it announced the expansion was going to be postponed because funding never came through. Now the facility, owned by the Lannett Company, is facing close to 50 layoffs. That's more than a third of the staff. 

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols gave a State of the University address to faculty and staff at the UW Fall Convocation this week, acknowledging difficulties but setting the groundwork for the future.

 

University of Wyoming

This week 37 University of Wyoming employees will be notified their position is being eliminated as of June 30. The layoffs are part of a $42 million budget reduction in response to state funding cuts.

The university is eliminating 15 positions in Information Technology, 12 in Academic Affairs, five in the Division of Administration, three in Student Affairs, one in the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs, and one at-large.

John Wilhelm

On the eve of graduation weekend, President Laurie Nichols announced to the Board of Trustees that 37 University of Wyoming staff members would lose their jobs to meet budget cuts.

All across campus, staff were working to get the class of 2017 graduated and onto their next venture. But there were questions in the air about how the state’s only public university is holding up.

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees oversaw reductions in both staff and degree programs during its May meeting.

President Laurie Nichols announced to the Board of Trustees on Thursday that 37 university staff will lose their jobs heading into fiscal year 2018. Specific departments facing staff reductions have not been publicly announced, but Nichols told the trustees that notifications will go out next week.

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming trustee meetings this week have many on campus awaiting a mixture of bad news and clarity. While a plan for a $10 million budget reduction for fiscal year 2018 was released in November, the details have been murky. To meet the proposed cuts, close to 50 layoffs are on the table, according to UW spokesperson Chad Baldwin.

A report prepared for this week’s meetings has brought more budget cut details to the surface. It shows The Outreach School and Athletics department will see the largest percentage of funding cuts, but no program is left untouched.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming is on the verge of its first round of layoffs due to state funding reductions. This comes after the Wyoming State Legislature voted to cut the university’s biennial budget by $41 million last year.

The first round of budget reductions eliminated close to 300 positions, but according to Chad Baldwin, Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing, those were not layoffs. He said the university has so far accomplished reductions by not filling vacated positions and by offering early retirement incentives.

BOB BECK

The Western Sugar Cooperate Plant in Torrington will lay off 86 employees in November when it shuts down the production facilities. There are concerns surrounding the layoffs, including what the shutdown will mean for the city’s economy. Ashley Harpstreith, Executive Director of Goshen County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC), said the community will face challenges.

STEPHANIE JOYCE / WYOMING PUBLIC RADIO

On April 1, 2016, Frank Thompson lost his job as a mechanic at Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle mine. He was one of almost 500 coal miners laid off that day by Peabody and its competitor, Arch Coal. At the time, Thompson, who is a single dad, was most concerned about what being laid off would mean for his son.

"He’s seven years old, so he kind of sees it as some time to hang out," he told Inside Energy's Stephanie Joyce. "But I don’t think he really realizes that this could be us moving away from here."

Duncan Harris, Flickr Creative Commons

Nebraska-based Kiewit Corporation announced today that 45 positions will be cut from its Gillette mine. In 2015, around 218 workers were employed at Buckskin Mine, Kiewit's only in the state.  

 

In a statement, company spokesperson Tom Janssen wrote:   

 

"Unfortunately, the coal market remains extremely challenging. Low natural gas prices, low overall power demand and high coal stockpiles at utility power plants has significantly reduced our customers’ 2016 coal needs."

 

Road Tripping Along North Dakota's Oil Bust Alley

May 13, 2016

Dickinson, North Dakota is a very different place than it was two years ago, when this oilfield town of less than 30,000 people was one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Since then, the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 percent. Nowhere are signs of the slowdown more visible than along Dickinson’s Highway 22. I decided to take a road trip to see what had changed along oil bust alley.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Gail Japp’s bright blue eyes are the kind you keep on noticing. I met the 64-year-old at her home outside of Gillette, Wyoming on a gray, windy, day in April. She had just finishing filling out unemployment paperwork.

Japp is one of the 235 coal miners who were laid off by Peabody Energy in March. Arch Coal cut around 230 positions that same week.

I asked her how she felt that day. Her reply: “Devastated, scared. What in the world am I gonna do? I’m single. I’m 64. I have a mortgage. Am I gonna lose my house?”

Uranium miner Cameco has announced it is laying off 85 workers in Wyoming and Nebraska.

Ken Vaughn, a spokesman for Cameco, says the cuts are a result of an ongoing downturn in the uranium market.

“Well there’s just an oversupply on the market at present. Part of that is due to the fact that most of the Japanese nuclear plants have been offline for the Fukushima disaster,” says Vaughn.

PHOTO CREDIT NORTHWEST COLLEGE VIA FACEBOOK

 

There’s a lot going on at Wyoming’s 7 community colleges. Tuition hikes, a new funding formula, and a budget crunch. The colleges are also poised to play a big role in the state’s economic recovery. Wyoming lost more than 2 percent of its jobs last year. And just last week, nearly 500 coal workers were laid off in the Powder River Basin.

Jim Rose is the executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank sat down with Dr. Rose—and started by asking how community colleges will help retrain workers amid the downturn. 

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