Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from Union Pacific Railroad.
Railex notified the state it would be laying off 88 people at its Wallula plant starting June 30.
But they won’t be losing their jobs at the warehouse just south of Burbank.
They’ll be working for Union Pacific Railroad instead.
The state requires plants with 50 or more employees in a single location to report mass layoffs to the Employment Security Department. The state received Railex’s notice April 12.
But because Railex is transitioning ownership of the company to Union Pacific Railroad, the requirement about notifying the state about the layoffs was necessary, according to Union Pacific officials.
“Railex is managing the facilities as we transition and integrate its operations with Union Pacific. This includes serving as the facilities’ employer,” Union Pacific said in a statement.
The Wallula warehouse is located at 627 Railex Road, about 25 miles southeast of the Tri-Cities off Highway 12 in Walla Walla County.
Railex is a refrigerated rail service and third-party logistics intermodal transportation company.
Union Pacific acquired Railex LLC’s refrigerated and cold storage assets, including Wallula’s warehouse and supporting equipment, in a deal announced in January. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
The acquisition did not include Railex Wine Services LLC, which is building a $10 million, 260,000-square-foot expansion at the Wallula plant. The expansion is scheduled to be completed and opened this spring.
Wallula’s Railex has two miles of loop track on its property along with 38 refrigerated truck docks and 19 enclosed refrigerated rail docks, as well as 225,000 square feet of refrigerated space.
Railex Wine Services was founded in 2012 as a wine storage, distribution and logistics platform to serve wineries and distributors across the United States. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates dominates the majority of its business.