Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sikorsky Aircraft to cut 150 jobs

STRATFORD >> Sikorsky Aircraft is cutting 150 jobs, the bulk of which are in Connecticut, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

The layoffs include 109 employees from Sikorsky’s Connecticut workforce, company spokesman Paul Jackson said. Connecticut is home Sikorsky’s largest group of employees, with about 8,000 workers between the company’s headquarters in Stratford as well as locations in Trumbull and Shelton, according to Jackson.

Tuesday was the last day on the job for all of the workers who Sikorsky laid off, he said. All of the workers received severance benefits, including employment transition assistance, according to Jackson.

Sikorsky’s corporate parent, defense contractor Lockheed Martin, had first announced plans in mid-July to reduce staffing levels of the Maryland-based company’s Mission Systems and Training division. Sikorsky is part of that Lockheed Martin business unit, Jackson said Tuesday.

“Although difficult, this action is necessary to ensure we remain competitive in the marketplace, secure future business opportunities, and keep our infrastructure appropriately aligned with customer demands,” Jackson said in a statement.

Lockheed Martin officials had said when they made the initial announcement in July that the company was launching a “voluntary layoff” program. If the company failed to reach its goal of a 1,500-person workforce reduction at the Mission Systems and Training division, an involuntary reduction would take place.

At the time, company officials did not say how many jobs were being lost at Sikorsky.

The decision to layoff Sikorsky workers was called “unwelcome news to Connecticut families” in a joint statement released by Connecticut’s legislative delegation.

“We understand just how difficult this time is for the affected workers and their families,” the statement read. “Over the coming weeks, we will work to help those affected in every way possible and will continue discussions with Lockheed to ensure it fulfills the commitments and obligations Sikorsky has undertaken in Connecticut. We are deeply dedicated to keeping jobs in Connecticut by bringing work to our aerospace and defense industry, where our highly skilled workforce continues to produce defense systems second to none – providing the expertise and edge that makes our military the best in the world.”

But more layoffs may be coming at Sikorsky in the coming weeks and months.

Repairs to the current fleet of Marine One helicopters, which transport the president of the United States, no longer will be done in Connecticut after negotiations between Sikorsky Aircraft and the U.S. Navy fell through. Sikorsky announced earlier this month that repair work on the Marine One helicopter, which is used by the President of the United States was being relocated to the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in Florida. About 85 unionized Sikorsky employees handle the repairs of the Marine One helicopters at the company’s Stratford plant.

Richard Aboulafia, a vice president with the Teal Group, a Virginia-based aerospace analysis firm, said the layoffs are being driven a combination of factors.

“The civil rotorcraft market has been seriously damaged by low oil prices ... and the military market is slowing, too,” Aboulafia said. “I’d be surprised if there weren’t more cuts to come.”

Source:   http://www.nhregister.com

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