Ingalls Shipyard layoffs 500 non-union workers

While union workers at Ingalls Shipyard will be celebrating a pay raise in the next few months, non represented workers could be looking for new jobs.

Ingalls will layoff 500 non-union workers from its Pascagoula and Gulfport shipyards by the end of 2012. The company has offered a voluntary reduction-in-force. The company expects to reach the 500 layoffs even it does not get enough volunteers.

The layoff announcement comes one day after Ingalls union workers approved a new three year contract for pay and benefits. The reduction in force does not impact union workers.

"I assume, these being non union workers, that it's going to be draftsmen, engineers, people working in offices and that type stuff," said Jackson County Supervisor John McKay. "It seems those types of people always get picked on first for some reason."

"What I understand, is they're going to ask for volunteering; people who are looking to either retire early or to move to a different job somewhere else. I think that it's that particular cycle in their business and the company has to do it and we don't like it," said Jackson County Supervisor Mike Mangum.

In a statement from Ingalls, the company said the cuts were necessary due to increased cost pressures associated with anticipated declining budgets.

"We must reduce our indirect budgets to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging marketplace. This is an unfortunate but necessary step in order to meet these financial objectives."

With 500 fewer people getting paychecks, the shipyards won't be the only areas thinning out.

"At least ten percent probably of our business probably will be lost," said restaurant manager John Allen.

In this economy, local business owners say they're not surprised to hear about these layoffs.  Even so, every change in the major industries ripples down to the mom and pop stores.  The local economy feeds off of the area's big industry, and business owners can only hope that this period of layoffs will not last.  Ingalls officials say some workers will be off the job as early as February or March.

The company's goal is to reach the 500 mark in staff reduction by the end of 2012.Employees who volunteer to be laid off will be received severance, equal to one week's pay for every year employed up to 26. Ingalls distributed an information packet to workers Friday morning, which outlined the severance offer, which includes options for extending medical benefits.

Source: WLOX