Bath Iron Works to lay off 44 employees by Sept. 23

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BATH — Bath Iron Works plans to lay off 44 salaried employees in its engineering department as of Sept. 23.

“The decision to reduce our technical workforce is necessary to meet our Navy customer’s changing requirements within their available funding,” BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini said in an e-mail Tuesday.

He noted that DDG-1000, the lead ship of the Zumwalt class of destroyers being built at the shipyard, is more than half complete, and that the U.S. Navy is returning to construction of Arleigh Burke-class vessels.

“As such, we simply don’t have the work available for all of the engineers and designers we employ today,” DeMartini explained. “While near-term new contract awards will help stabilize our overall levels of employment they will increase work in manufacturing as work declines in engineering and other pre-construction activities.

“This reverses the trend we have experienced over the last several years,” he added, “where we manned up in engineering and design but declined in manufacturing as the design for the (Zumwalt) completed and the ship began full rate production.”

BIW laid off about 130 carpenters, electricians, insulators, outside machinists, pipe coverers, pipe fitters, sand blasters and tinsmiths as of March 2, and 250 marine designers as of June 24.

Total employment at BIW is currently about 5,400, down from about 5,800 at the beginning of this year.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow Alex on Twitter: @learics.

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.