Signature Boise employer with deep roots says it will shut down local HQ

MotivePower, one of the last vestiges of the storied Morrison-Knudsen firm, will pull up stakes in Boise.

KBOI-TV broke the story Tuesday. MotivePower’s parent company Wabtec gave KBOI a statement: “Today, Wabtec announced the intent to consolidate manufacturing operations at the MotivePower plant in Boise into the Company’s site in Erie, PA.”

As of early Thursday morning, the company had not filed official notice of the plant closing with the Idaho Department of Labor, according to a state spokesperson.

The Worker Administration and Retraining Notice act requires any employer that plans to cut 100 employees or more to give notice with at least 60 days. It is not clear how many employees MotivePower still has in the Boise area.

[‘City at a crossroads:’ Brookings says Boise’s prosperity is fleeting, bold action needed]

Wabtec cut as many as 210 employees in a round of layoffs in 2016. The company said at the time that the employee layoff was “close to half” its Boise workforce at the time.

MotivePower traces its roots to 1972 as an MK subsidiary. It spun the division off in 1993 as MK Rail. It later took the name MotivePower and eventually merged with Westinghouse Air Brake Company to form Wabtec. Since opening, the Boise plant manufactured more than 2,800 locomotives, according to the company.

Earlier this year, Wabtec merged with General Electric’s transportation unit.

The company told KIVI it would offer a severance package to employees.

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