Bath Iron Works to lay off 81 workers effective Nov. 22

The future USS Zumwalt, the nearly $4 billion stealth destroyer being built by Bath Iron Works, was launched into the Kennebec River recently.
Courtesy of Bath Iron Works
The future USS Zumwalt, the nearly $4 billion stealth destroyer being built by Bath Iron Works, was launched into the Kennebec River recently.
Posted Nov. 07, 2013, at 6:07 p.m.

BATH, Maine — Bath Iron Works will lay off 81 shipyard workers effective Nov. 22, the company confirmed Thursday.

The company notified union leadership on Thursday that it will lay off 81 workers across multiple trades in order to balance its workforce with the current amount of work at the shipyard, Jim DeMartini, BIW’s spokesman, told the Bangor Daily News on Thursday.

The layoffs will occur among insulators, outside machinists, preservation techs, shipfitters and metal preparation technicians, DeMartini said.

As of Nov. 1, BIW employed approximately 5,450 people, according to DeMartini.

The lag in workforce needs comes in the wake of the shipyard’s recent launch of its first Zumwalt-class destroyer.

“This balancing of the workload with the workforce is a constant act we go through,” DeMartini said. “We’re doing everything we can to get more work in the shipyard, but with fewer ships being built and competition being tighter, it complicates the already complicated process of trying to maintain that balance between work and resources.”

He added, “We hate to do this. We know it affects people, especially at this time of year. It’s not pleasant for any of us.”

DeMartini said the company will do everything it can before the layoffs take effect to determine if any of the affected workers have the necessary skills to fill other open positions within the company. However, he didn’t know how many open positions exist at the shipyard, or whether any of the affected workers would be qualified to fill those positions.

The shipyard has made a number of layoffs over the last several months. It laid off 42 insulators and pipe coverers last month, and on Nov. 1 announced it would lay off 39 pipefitters effective Nov. 18.

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