Shipyard workers receive WARN notice

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More than 1,500 Norfolk shipyard workers received notices their jobs are on the line pending sequestration.

BAE Systems Ship Repair President Bill Clifford sent a letter to more than 5,000 staff nationwide, including 3,500 working at shipyards.

Document: WARN notice from BAE Systems

WARN notices mean any company with 100 or more workers has to notify its employees of mass layoffs or plant closings 60 days before the cuts go into effect. According to BAE, 1,625 workers will receive those notices.

"There's some guys here that are very skilled and there's probably some excess in here that can go too," BAE Systems outside machinist Tyler Willis said. "I see both sides of the coin where they need to cut some things."

Contractors outside the Norfolk shipyard have already been served.

"I got one when I got off work [Tuesday] and I got one this morning when I got to work," one worker told 10 On Your Side.

Although he is new at the shipyard, Willis' concern is for those who have worked there longest.

"I hope they layoff according to seniority," Willis said. "The guys that put a lot of time in here, I hope they get laidoff last."

Tuesday, Huntington Ingalls CEO and President Mike Petters told the company is preparing to reduce their workforce March 27.

"This is not a theoretical problem like it is up in Washington. This is reality," Representative Scott Rigell (R-VA) said.

“I feel great sympathy for the 1,600 shipyard workers and their families receiving WARN notices today,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said Wednesday. “As I learned from my visit with workers in Newport News yesterday, delayed ship repairs over budget uncertainty will have a devastating ripple effect on the Hampton Roads economy and an immediate impact on our readiness. As the Pentagon notifies DOD civilians about potential furloughs, I’m still not willing to accept that the sequester has to happen. All that’s required is a willingness for leaders of both parties to take responsibility for this self-inflicted crisis and find a reasonable compromise."

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