Friday, November 19, 2010

White-collar workers at risk with Northrop layoffs

White-collar workers at Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Newport News shipyard figure to take the hardest blow on Friday, when the company is expected to announce its first round of layoffs in more than a decade.
Workers like engineers and designers are expected to be included in the job cuts, which sources say are likely to exceed 200.
Some of the layoff estimates in the yard were much higher, but it's worth noting that any layoff in excess of 500 workers would trigger a required, 60-day notice to the state under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN.
It's possible that some blue-collar positions could be cut, as well, though the Daily Press has been unable to confirm the exact number or makeup of the planned layoffs.
Even if the layoffs total 200 workers, that would represent only 1 percent of Northrop's total local employment. The shipyard has a workforce of about 20,000.
Sources have described the expected layoffs as a reshuffling of manpower, meaning the yard will continue to hire for certain positions based on need for reasons like attrition, retirement and shifts in demand for certain classifications of work.
Defense contractors like Northrop are facing increasing pressure from the Pentagon to cut costs. Nearly every major company in the industry has made significant job cuts over the past few months.


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