The Minnesota State Legislative Board is hosting a meeting Monday, December 21, 2015, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Education and Economic Development (MN DEED). The meeting will be held at the South St. Paul VFW 295, 111 Exchange St., St. Paul, from 5:00 pm. through 6:00 p.m.

MN DEED will be focusing on emergency assistance (mortgage help), job training, job counseling and much more.

“I would like to stress that furloughed members should not resign from their positions on the railroad,” Minnesota State Legislative Director Phil Qualy said. “These meetings are designed to provide our furloughed members with skills and training while they are on furloughed status and are in need of other temporary employment.

“We have over 200 furloughed workers across Minnesota from BNSF, CP and UP properties. Looking forward to 2016, we do not see an economic trend line that will lead to a large recall of furloughed workers at this time. With the recent passage of a federal highway construction bill and the weakening of a strong dollar, we hope our industry will recover.”

If you have been furloughed, it is highly recommended that you consider attending this meeting.

A holiday party will immediately follow the meeting at the same location, hosted by locals 650 (Minneapolis) and 1614 (St. Paul). All are welcome to attend.

Creighton University is developing a program to aid those who will lose their jobs in the wake of ConAgra’s recent announcement that it will slash expenses by eliminating salaried positions and relocating its global headquarters from Omaha to Chicago.

ConAgra announced Thursday that it would uproot its Omaha headquarters next year. About 1,000 people are expected to be laid off in the coming weeks.

Those who lost their jobs at Union Pacific, which announced layoffs in August, also will be eligible for the program.

Click here for more information on the scholarship being offered by Creighton University.

Read more from Omaha World-Herald

Union Pacific earnings for the third quarter 2010 soared by 51 percent from the third quarter 2009, the railroad told investors Oct. 21.

UP told Wall Street analysts it was the company’s most profitable quarter ever.

In reporting the record earnings, UP Chairman Jim Young told Wall Street analysts that the railroad had put some 1,100 furloughed employees back to work during the third quarter 2010, and that all furloughed workers likely would be back on the job in coming months.Young also told analysts that UP likely will hire additional employees in 2011, assuming the economy remains strong.

UP credited increased rail traffic (up 14 percent for the third quarter versus third quarter 2009), the ability to extract higher freight rates from shippers, and improved productivity as the reasons for the record profits.

Per share earnings for UP jumped from 1.01 in the third quarter 2009 to 1.56 per share in the third quarter 2010. This exceeded estimates of Wall Street firms.

UP reported a record operating ratio of 68.2 percent. Operating ratio is the railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists as a basic measure of carrier profitability.

CSX earlier reported that its third quarter earnings soared by 43 percent.

Kansas City Southern reports third quarter earnings Oct. 26, and Norfolk Southern reports Oct. 27. As BNSF is now privately held, it does not report earnings separately.

Train and engine employment continues to climb back toward pre-recession levels, with Class I railroads continuing to call back furloughed train crews.

The Surface Transportation Board posted data for September, showing train and engine employment on Class I railroads grew almost 9 percent in September, versus September 2009; and was almost 2 percent higher than in August 2010.

Train and engine service employment stood at 61,444 in September, while total Class I railroad employment was at 154,094.