Newport News Shipbuilding Reduces Workforce by 480

Newport News Shipbuilding effectuated cuts Tuesday, with more likely to come in the next year.

The shipyard announced 480 layoffs due to a temporary but significant drop in work which the Huntington Ingalls Industries president Mike Petters attributed to congressional inaction and a budget gridlock, reports the Daily Press.

The news comes despite of Huntington Ingalls Industries’ report of a successful Q2 which shows a rise of 56 percent compared to the same period in 2014.

The affected employees were let go Tuesday. The shipyard is a major economic driver and attracts workers from across the region.

The 480 layoffs hit salaried employees and spanned the entire shipyard said the shipyard’s president Matt Mulherin. Of those, 77 with prior experience in a trade will be offered the chance to “go back to their tools” and become hourly workers.

Mulherin said the company will put forth its best effort to find jobs for the rest of the group through job fairs, transition assistance and career counseling.

One possible landing spot is the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, which earlier this year announced plans to hire 1,500 people. Terri Davis, a yard spokeswoman, said Tuesday that job openings still exist and displaced Newport News employees represent potential hires.

Earlier predictions estimated that more than 500 jobs this year and more than 1,000 next year will be cut. This year’s number ended up at 480 thanks to attrition, finding other work and more cost cutting, said Mulherin.

Newport News Shipbuilding, part of Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., counts more than 23000 employees, and is the largest industrial employer in Virginia and the largest shipbuilding company in the United States, according to its website.

It’s the nation’s only designer, builder and refueler of Navy aircraft carriers and one of two providers of submarines.

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Image: HII