Newport News Shipbuilding announces buyout offers, restructuring

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Newport News Shipbuilding is offering buyouts to a little more than 10 percent of its workforce.

A letter from Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin says the buyouts being offered to more than 2,500 employees are “completely voluntary,” and no layoffs are expected.

Employees who take buyouts will get up to 26 weeks of severance, depending on their years of service. 

READ: Shipbuilding President’s Letter

Boykin’s letter also indicated a forthcoming restructuring, saying the moves are necessitated by the federal government’s “increasingly complex defense priorities.”

The buyout offers are intended to cut overhead costs, and apply to senior manager- and director-level employees, as well as certain other salaried employees.

The shipyard, which is the sole builder of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, is a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. It’s also one of two yards that builds nuclear-powered submarines.

In the year 2015, after saying the shipyard had exhausted all other efforts to reduce spending, then Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin told employees about 1,500 layoffs for the following year.

Mulherin said cutbacks were necessary because of an expected decrease in the shipyard’s workload over the next two years. Shipyard leaders, he said, had already started several cost-saving initiatives to minimize layoffs, and listed some in a letter he emailed to employees in 2015. 

Fast forward to 2017, and a spokesperson told 10 On Your Side that Newport News Shipbuilding anticipated hiring 3,000 positions this year. The company said it was reaching out to those who were previously laid off.

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