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Newport News shipyard: Another 300 layoffs possible late in 2016

Hugh Lessig
Shipyard: More job cuts possible this year

Newport News Shipbuilding could cut about 300 more jobs late this year as it continues to deal with a drop in workload, shipyard President Matt Mulherin told workers Tuesday.

However, not all the news is bad.

In a statement to employees, Mulherin said the company is recalling 75 unionized workers included among 738 layoffs in early February. Those employees work in the Preparation and Treatment Department.

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

"Although we are not completely through the workload valley, this news is more positive than originally predicted," he added. "I know the past year has been stressful, and I appreciate all you are doing to remain engaged. I will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available."

The shipyard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, has cut about 1,200 jobs in two rounds of layoffs, 480 in September along with the 738 this year.

An additional 300 – which Mulherin said would happen in November or December of this year – would fulfill the company's prediction issued last summer, when officials warned of about 1,500 total layoffs due to a drop in work.

The drop is significant, but temporary. It's happening because work is wrapping up on three aircraft carriers over several months. The shipyard expects to ramp up hiring in 2017 as it takes on additional work.

Lessig can be reached by phone at 757-247-7821.

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