Company in Johnstown to lay off 112 workers

JOHNSTOWN – New Jersey-based National Freight Inc. is laying off 112 employees working for the firm’s trucking company that services the Walmart Regional Distribution Center at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

But local economic development officials indicated a new company will soon be taking its place and the effect on the local job market should be minimal.

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese said today he saw a letter from the state Labor Department indicating National Freight Inc. would be laying off 112 of its truckers. Reese said some of those employees are probably local.

National Freight operates a small facility at 300 Enterprise Road, near the massive 867,000-square-foot Walmart distribution center.

“My understanding is that National Freight was a contractor for the Walmart Distribution Center,” Reese said. “Walmart went out to bid and they hired a different company. It’s not so much we’re losing jobs, it’s just there’s a change in whose handling freight for Walmart.”

Reese said he expects some of the National Freight employees are local, but some of the jobs may be picked up by the new company or retained by National Freight to work elsewhere. He said he wasn’t sure of the name of the new trucking company.

National Freight is expected to vacate its Johnstown operation March 31 and the new company is expected to begin April 1, Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius said today.

The local National Freight dispatch center at the industrial park this morning referred questions to the firm’s Cherry Hill, N.J. headquarters, The company referred questions to its attorney, Scott E. Brucker, who didn’t return a phone call this morning seeking comment.

Walmart Regional Distribution Center Manager Larry Raike would not comment on the situation this morning.

Reese said the letter from state Labor Department was also sent to Julius. He said the letter was unusual in that it indicated National Freight maintained a facility at 100 Opportunity Drive at the Johnstown Industrial Park. He said there is no building at that address.

Julius said today he received the state Department of Labor letter a couple days ago indicating the layoffs. He said there was no indication of where the layoffs were actually occurring from.

“We sort of speculated it was going to be Walmart,” Julius said.

Julius said he subsequently received an email from Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz indicating the action.

“We don’t know yet the name of the new company that will now be servicing Walmart,” the email from?Mraz to Julius said. “However, it is expected that this new company will need approximately the same number of employees to handle the Walmart contract. If so, there shouldn’t be much impact to the local economy. Hope this helps explain what that letter was about.”