130 Laid Off at BAE Norfolk Shipyard


Just weeks after letting 50 employees go, BAE Systems announced 130 more layoffs at its Norfolk shipyard, with more expected before the end of June.

Some in the industry have said that a slowdown in Navy contracts stemming from federal budget delays is to blame for the layoffs. The federal government was operating under a continuing resolution—a budget stopgap—until early May, when an omnibus spending bill for the current fiscal year was passed. The bill included a $15 billion increase in supplemental defense spending.

The Navy told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot that it has a number of jobs in the request-for-proposal stage and has asked bidders to expedite the process. Three ships that were expected to undergo repair in May had been pushed back to September, but that work may be pushed back up now that proposals have been received, the newspaper reports.

Still, a representative of the Virginia Ship Repair Association told the Virginian-Pilot, the trade group expects 1,000 layoffs at shipyards in that region this summer. The total number of layoffs at BAE System's facility is expected to be 300.

BAE Systems’ Norfolk Ship Repair is distinct from the Norfolk Navy Shipyard, but the U.S. Navy is the facility’s primary customer.

Layoffs Elsewhere

The layoffs come just after Pier 70, a San Francisco shipyard with a 150-year history, shut down amid ownership turmoil. Pier 70 had been owned by BAE Systems, which sold the shipyard to Puglia Engineering early this year. Puglia took BAE to court after finding that it had inherited more than $50 million in unexpected costs when it took control of the facility.

More than 220 workers have been laid off at that facility since the botched transaction occurred.

Fleet Expansion Plans

Earlier this year, President Donald J. Trump visited Newport News Shipyard, the country’s largest shipyard and a major Navy contractor, to discuss his plans for increased defense spending and a naval expansion in the coming years.

Trump has called for a 350-ship fleet, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in December called for a plan to build the Navy’s fleet to 355 ships. Trump said at Newport News that he wants to see a fleet of 12 aircraft carriers, which would mean a gain of two carriers. The carrier fleet is currently ten, and while two new carriers are expected to be delivered in the near term, they will likely replace older vessels that will be retired.


Tagged categories: Government; Government contracts; Labor; North America; Program/Project Management; Ships and vessels; Shipyards; U.S. Navy

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