BAE union says no forced layoffs

March 28th, 2016

News Coverage:

March 26, 2016

BAE union says no forced layoffs

Plenty of volunteers to cover' 44 hourly jobs being cut

Sherry Slater | The Journal Gazette

No union members are leaving BAE Systems against their will, an official said Friday.

On Jan. 19, the British defense contractor announced plans to eliminate up to 100 local jobs. BAE spokeswoman Shelby Cohen said then that plans called for cutting up to 10 percent of the 1,000-person workforce.

The company and IUE/CWA Local 901 entered negotiations immediately after the announcement and agreed to offer some additional benefits beyond those guaranteed in the contract to entice some workers who couldn’t have afforded it otherwise to retire early, said Brent Eastom, the local’s president. He represents about 670 hourly BAE employees.

“We had plenty of volunteers to cover” the negotiated 44 hourly positions that will be eliminated, he said. “Nobody in our union workforce is being involuntarily laid off.”

Eastom knows some salaried positions are also affected but declined to share specifics. Cohen also declined to reveal the number of salaried workers losing jobs or how many non-unionized workers have accepted early retirement offers. 

The local BAE workforce will shrink in mid-July. Cohen has described the job cuts as necessary “to ensure the company remains competitive in the dynamic commercial aerospace market.” BAE supplies Boeing with parts for use on military and commercial aircraft worldwide.

Additional benefits negotiated included health care coverage, Eastom said.

BAE held a ribbon-cutting in September at its new aviation electronics manufacturing center near Fort Wayne International Airport. The $46 million project included $7 million to move operations from leased space on the former GE campus.

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