Newport News Shipbuilding updates workers on layoff plans, recalls 75 employees

Posted at 12:12 PM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-06 14:49:58-04

Newport News, Va. (WTKR)- Some employees laid off at Newport News Shipbuilding in February are being given the opportunity to return to work.

Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin updated shipyard employees on the cost reduction efforts in a letter Tuesday.

In the summer of 2015, the shipyard announced they expected to layoff around 1,500 employees over the next two years due to a workload valley. That workload valley included work wrapping up on three aircraft carriers within a short period of time.

Decommissioning work on the USS Enterprise, construction on the future USS Gerald R. Ford and mid-life refueling and complex overhaul of the USS Abraham Lincoln are all wrapping up.

In September 2015, the first wave of layoffs happened when 480 employees were laid off.

The second wave occurred on February 3rd when 738 workers had their last day on the job.

In his letter to the shipyard Tuesday, Mulherin announced "based on all of our cost reduction efforts, and on the current view of our projected workload demand through 2017, we do not anticipate any additional layoffs until very late this year, in the November/December timeframe."

Mulherin went on to say, "If these layoffs do become necessary, our current projections indicate it might impact about 300 people."

75 employees from the Surface Preparation and Treatment Department who were impacted during the February layoffs are also in the process of being recalled.

According to Mulherin's letter, "Due to growth work on several programs, these employees will be offered the opportunity to return to work in accordance with our union contract."

All previously laid off employees have been offered severance benefits and outplacement sessions, such as job search training, external job fairs, one-on-one career counseling and transition processing.

While Mulherin cautioned the yard that "we are not completely through the workload valley," the news is now "more positive than originally predicted."

You can read the entire letter from Matt Mulherin here.