The economic impact of the U.S. Army’s withdrawal from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is being felt in southern Maine, where General Dynamics on Thursday announced it would lay off 110 employees at its weapons manufacturing facility in Saco.
The company is laying off 100 hourly employees and 10 salaried employees, Karl Johnson, a spokesman for General Dynamics Armament & Technical Products, told the Bangor Daily News on Thursday.
“It’s primarily a result of a sharp decline in the U.S. Army’s demand for heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers,” Johnson said, adding that they’re referred to as crew-served weapons. “This is concurrent with the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The layoffs will begin June 14 and be complete by July 1, Johnson said.
The affected salaried employees were told Thursday that they would be laid off, Johnson said. The company informed union leaders Thursday of the cuts to hourly positions, but since union employees work under seniority rules there will be a process before it’s determined which individuals will lose their jobs, he said.
In addition to those crew-served weapons, the Saco facility, once known as Saco Defense, produces weapon systems for aircrafts and helicopters. The facility employs 340 individuals, Johnson said.
“We regret the impact that this is going to have on the entire Saco workforce,” he said. “But we are taking this action now to preserve the remaining Saco workforce and to maintain our cost competitiveness on our existing programs and for future opportunities.”