Palestine, Anderson County and Union Pacific Railroad headed to trial in March – Palestine Herald Press

Posted By on January 26, 2022

The city of Palestine and Anderson County and Union Pacific Railroad are set to go to trial in March in the 2nd District Court in Rusk if a summary judgement is not received in February.

According to County Judge Robert Johnston, there was a mediation between the city, county and UPRR on Jan. 6 but no agreement was made.

They gave us about the same offer as they gave us before, Johnston said.

The summary judgement hearing is set for Monday, Feb. 7 in the 2nd Judicial District Court in Cherokee County.

In December 2021, Johnston visited with the UPRR Palestine car shop employees to keep them up-to-date on the situation.

They all expressed their thanks with us continuing on with the lawsuit in support of them and their families, Johnston said. We are going to continue this until we either get a favorable outcome or it goes all the way as far as we can appeal it to.

Johnston said there are currently 54 employees at the Palestine car shop.

UPRR Carman Willie Williams said he is grateful for everything Johnston has done for Palestine UPRR employees throughout this nerve wracking process.

We are unfailing grateful to both the city and the county, but especially for Judge Johnstons help and willingness to keep fighting for us, Williams said. He has kept us informed, told us what to expect next and kept his office open to us throughout this process.

Union Pacific Railroad met with Palestine staff April 15, 2021 and told them they had 60 days until the Palestine car facility closes. Union Pacific said in a statement it had been accelerating its continuous improvement plan and implementing Precision Scheduled Railroading principles undertaking operational changes across its system. One of those operational changes is the closing of its main car repair facility in Palestine. The closure of the Palestine car repair facility would result in the abolishment of as many as 57 positions.

In June, the city of Palestine and Anderson County met Union Pacific in the 2nd District Court, presided over by Judge Michael Davis, in ongoing litigation with regard to the 1955 judgment between the parties. Union Pacific was found by the court to be out of compliance with the 1955 judgment requiring UP to provide employment numbers and payroll reports on a monthly basis to the city. UP had been out of compliance with this since December 2020.

In July, Davis ordered Union Pacific Railroad to stick to the 1955 judgment with the city of Palestine. Davis said he would strictly interpret the 1955 judgment as it was written. Davis said he would revisit the case if proper pleadings are filed in the future.

In a separate ongoing lawsuit, Union Pacific alleges that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 preempts the 1872 Agreement between the company and the city of Palestine/Anderson County and asked the court to void its obligations to Palestine to maintain a facility here and a percentage of employees at that facility.

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Palestine, Anderson County and Union Pacific Railroad headed to trial in March - Palestine Herald Press

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