Decline in Helicopter Production Leads to Sikorsky Layoffs

Job Cuts
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Sikorsky Is Laying Off 160 Employees

America’s biggest helicopter manufacturer, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, is laying off 160 employees at its manufacturing facility in Troy, Alabama as the production of its “Seahawk” helicopters declines. All eligible unionized employees will receive offers for voluntary separation, as per their union contract.

The factory, located in Pike County, primarily produces the “MH-60R Seahawk,” which is a U.S. Navy helicopter. The helicopter is experiencing a decline in demand by the Navy, so the company has decided to cut back its production. Sikorsky Aircraft spokesperson Paul Jackson has said that output is being cut in order to control costs and stay competitive.

Following the reduction in production, the company no longer needs as big of a workforce at the Troy factory. As a result, around 160  jobs are being cut at the plant. The laid-off employees will depart the company in August.

Congresswoman Martha Roby, who represents the district that includes Pike County, may have heaved a sigh of the relief that the Troy plant is not closing. she has said that there were concerns earlier that the facility would close down altogether, leaving hundreds more out of work. The helicopter manufacturer currently employs 650 workers in the county.

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Roby has said that she’ll be pushing Sikorsky to deliver more certainty to its employees. She is also pushing the U.S. Navy to clarify its stance on ordering Seahawk helicopters. “The Navy is growing its fleet of ships, but that growth has not yet translated to Seahawk production,” said Roby.

The House Appropriations Committee recently approved the fiscal-year 2018 Defense Appropriations bill. It included language by Roby instructing the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to Congress outlining its procurement strategy for the Seahawk helicopter. That report would be due within 90 days. 

Sikorsky was bought by defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corporation in 2015.

 

Sources

160 Sikorsky workers in Troy receive layoff notices,” WSFA 12, July 3, 2017.

Helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky lays off 160 in Alabama,”Alabama Media Group, July 3, 2017.

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