155 workers in Elizabeth City furloughed after protest over Coast Guard contract

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-18 20:08:26-04

Elizabeth City, Va. - After winning a five-year, $200 million contract from the Coast Guard, one Elizabeth City company still has to temporarily lay off more than 150 of their workers.

“This is the largest furlough we have had here in Elizabeth City in the 10 years I have been here,” said City Manager Rich Olson.

DRS Technologies, who performs C-130 overhauls for the Coast Guard, made the formal announcement this week.

DRS refused to comment on camera, but tell us about 60 percent of their workforce in Elizabeth City will no longer be actively employed, after a stop work order was issued by the Coast Guard for their brand new contract.

“As with any government contract, you have opportunity to protest the bid, and one of the bidders that were unsuccessful did protest the contract,” said Olson.

This protest is the latest in a long line of hiccups for DRS. Their contract was first put on hold because of sequestration, and now that is has been awarded, they still can only go ahead in a limited capacity.

It will take 90 days for the Government Accountability Office to decide on the protest, and the city is preparing for the effects of the temporary loss of these high paying jobs.

“You will see it most likely first in our restaurants, and probably in any number of our retail establishments,” said Olson.

Elizabeth City is already reeling from the layoffs of 42 people from Albemarle Hospital because of budget cuts, and now, even more people will be filing for unemployment.

“You take those 42 employees, add these 155, and that’s definitely going to have a negative impact on our community,” said Olson.

The Coast Guard will decide on the protest by September, and if DRS comes out on top, they plan on having everybody back at work that same month.