Posted 2/23/16 (Tue)
By Cecile Krimm
A “significant” number of layoffs at Pinnacle in Tioga and Stanley is being attributed to the downturn in the oil economy.
Jim Wznick, general manager of the co-op, confirmed the layoffs last week, but declined to elaborate on the number of employees affected.
“You have to be sensitive to these employees who lost their jobs,” he said, while also lending some reassurance to those who remain.
“Right now, we’re pretty confident with the cuts we’ve made,” he said.
Traffic at the Travel Center in Tioga and at Stanley’s “Bakken Central” truck stop has declined over the past 12 months and some savings came from not replacing people who left positions on their own.
However, starting in December, and continuing into January and February, traffic really began “spiralling fast” and layoffs were the only option.
The most notable change lately, he said, is the decline in truck traffic.
“When those trucking people were laying people off, it’s pretty significant on a company like ours,” he said.
While the Tioga Travel Center is a very large operation and needs a certain number of employees to function properly, Wznick said the center may have been overstaffed previously.
Going forward, and longterm, he said, “we are a local home town co-op providing goods and services to our members -- the local farmers and ranchers,” and the board must strive to keep the co-op’s balance sheet healthy.