Maya Boddie | Local & World Editor
According to 13newsnow.com, the Newport News Shipbuilding has told employees that it will likely lay off more than 1,500 employees beginning this fall. Layoffs will affect both hourly and salary employees, as 500 workers are expected to lose jobs this year, and the other 1,000 will follow in 2016.
Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin says the layoffs are the result of a decrease in the shipyard’s workload over the next two years, but mostly due to the shipyard finishing work on three aircraft carriers over the next 18 months. USS Gerald R. Ford is expected it be delivered to the Navy in 2016, the USS Abraham Lincoln is expected to be complete, and the shipyard is also completing work on the inactivation of USS Enterprise.
The shipyard’s parent company, the Newport News yard employs more than 23,000 people — which means this wave of layoffs will cut the overall workforce by about 6.5 percent, according to the website for Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Fortunately, those who are laid off will get a 60-day notice and the shipyard will assist them in finding new employment.
Shipyard worker Dezmond Kee said he’s trying not to let the possibility of getting laid off affect his performance. “Anything is possible, but like I said, I try not to concern myself too much with it because I don’t want it to affect the work I do day in and day out,” Kee said.
In the meantime, nearby Norfolk Naval Shipyard announced in December it would begin hiring about 1,500 civilian workers to handle an increased workload.
Newport News Shipbuilding is the only shipyard to design, build and refuel U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, and one of two shipyards that service Navy submarines.