Bath Iron Works to lay off 67 workers by June 15

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BATH — Bath Iron Works President Jeff Geiger announced Monday that the shipyard would implement a series of temporary layoffs in multiple trades through the summer and fall due to a workload gap.

Geiger said he cannot accurately predict the exact size and duration of the layoffs. But BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini said on Tuesday that 67 employees will be laid off by June 15, including 30 ship fitters, 25 welders, six material handlers and six sandblasters.

While the shipyard can anticipate four to five years of “relative employment stability” thanks to the proposed federal fiscal 2010 budget before Congress, Geiger said in a bulletin to BIW workers, for years BIW has expected a gap in workload between the line of DDG 51 destroyers being completed now and the upcoming DDG 1000 program.

“By working hard on the DDG 1000 design and securing the lead ship, doing off-site work, loaning employees from production trades to support DDG 1000 design needs, and many other actions, we have reduced this gap but not eliminated it,” Geiger said.

In the coming years, he said, “from time to time, we can expect short-term trade imbalances will drive cycles of layoffs and hires as is typical in our business; but overall our employment levels are solid. Layoffs are difficult for everyone, and we will explore every available avenue to help minimize the number, including polling for voluntary layoffs, pursuing reassignments and continuing to seek emergent work.”

While BIW is currently under contract for only the first of three DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class vessels, although the shipyard is expected to build all three and is scheduled to deliver the first to the U.S. Navy in 2013.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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.