Union: Electric Boat to Lay Off Up to 500 Workers

Friday, Aug 23, 2013  |  Updated 6:29 PM EDT
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Union: Electric Boat to Lay Off Up to 500 Workers

NBCConnecticut.com

Electric Boat is laying off between 450 and 500 people.

A union that represents workers at Electric Boat says it has been told by the submarine builder to expect between 450 and 500 layoffs by the end of the year.

Electric Boat had been expecting to play a major role in the repair of the USS Miami after a civilian working as a painter and sandblaster on the boat set it on fire.

However, the Navy decided not to continue with the repairs because of budget cuts and growing costs.

Ken DelaCruz, president of the Metal Trades Council at the Groton shipyard, said on Friday that most of the layoffs were already planned before the loss of the Miami was announced, but the repair could have kept 300 workers employed.

"It's horrible," DelaCruz said. "These are hardworking people who spent a lot of years getting their skillsets. You don't learn these skillsets overnight."

The union had learned some time ago that the company was going to let 430 workers go, but the decision about the USS Miami added 35 more jobs.

The layoffs were originally going to be short-term furloughs, union officials said, but now they have learned they are long-term layoffs.

“Well it's horrible.  I mean, especially with this economy.  These are hardworking people, spent a lot of years getting these skillsets and you don't learn these skillsets overnight,” Delacruz said.

There was a spike in employment earlier this year at the shipyard where jobs rise and fall with the demands of the Navy.

Electric Boat did not return a request for comment.

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