NORFOLK—After months of concerns about layoffs, some good news arrived today for workers at BAE Systems Shipyard in Norfolk.
The company was awarded a $49 million contract from Naval Sea Systems Command to repair and upgrade the Navy guided missile destroyer USS Porter.
Back in February, BAE sent “WARN” letters to 1,600 of its workers, advising that layoffs were a possibility, amid concerns over sequestration defense-cuts and the then unresolved continuing resolution for Fiscal year 2013.
The Porter was badly damaged during a collision with a large tanker in the Strait of Hormuz last year.
BAE workers said today they’re hopeful this large contract will mean layoffs won’t happen.
“This last couple of months, we’ve been struggling trying to figure out if we’re going to be working during this time,” said Treyvon Davis.
“I’m very relieved,” said John Butrick. “I’ve been very stressed over this whole situation. I’m just glad, relieved to be hearing something like this. Hopefully, we can keep it going for the good.”
BAE’s spokesman wouldn’t offer an opinion on whether the Porter contract will have an affect on layoff decisions, noting that the entire ship-repair industry is still trying to figure out what sequestration will mean in the long run.
In a statement, BAE Director of Communications John Measell said, “We’re pleased to support the Navy’s mission readiness requirements by providing maintenance, repair and modernization of the USS Porter. We appreciate their confidence in our capabilities and the great work of our employees.”