Jobs ax swings at Newport News Shipbuilding

“There’s no good way to do this,” the Virginian-Pilot reports Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin as saying, adding that the swiftness of laid-off workers’ departures was largely related to the fact that the shipyard is a secure facility.”

Though the abruptness of the dismissals came as a shock, the layoffs themselves came as no great surprise.
Back in July, the shipbuilder warned workers that, as work on three major aircraft carrier projects winds down, layoffs lay ahead for both hourly paid and salaried employees. It projected that 500 jobs would go this year and another 1,500 plus in 2016.

In a “Dear Shibuilders” letter and accompanying FAQ, issued at that time, Mr. Mulherin said “remember that the workload valley has both a beginning and end as our workload increases again in 2017.

“”We will issue 60-day notices to all affected employees,” the workers were told. “Employees will be expected to work during the 60-day notice period.”

However, because the actual number of layoffs was kept below the 500 number, Newport News was not required to give advanced notifications and the workers separated from the company on the day they were laid off.

Seventy seven of those laid off who have the appropriate skills will have the opportunity to return to an hourly trade job.