About 130 jobs to be cut by Bath Iron Works

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BATH — Bath Iron Works announced Jan. 7 that it would lay off about 130 employees as of Jan. 21.

The employees include salaried and unionized workers, according to a statement issued by BIW President Jeff Geiger, who blamed the reductions on a decline in demand for design work.

“We have been fortunate over the last several years to have had the responsibility to develop the DDG 1000,” Geiger said, referring to the Zumwalt-class destroyer built for the U.S. Navy. “A lead ship design project such as this occurs very infrequently and generates a demand for technical resources far above normal levels. We’re now beyond the peak of the DDG 1000 design effort and the high demand for these resources is declining.”

He said the shipyard anticipated the decline and created additional design and engineering opportunities that reduced the number of jobs eliminated.

Geiger noted that workforce changes are common in shipbuilding, pointing out that in June 2009 he announced a production drop and ensuing layoffs as BIW transitioned from the DDG 51 to DDG 1000.

“At the same time, we were hiring engineers and designers to meet our increasing DDG 1000 design needs,” Geiger said. “That situation is now reversed as the ship has transitioned into full production. Over the past year, we have increased our production staff by over 700 people.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforcaster.net.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.