story & photo
by Alexis Ann
At an annual legislative breakfast hosted by Electric Boat held at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa earlier this month, John P. Casey, President, EB, announced, “My focus is in keeping 10,000 people employed.” ….”Long term growth is expected across the business…” “The Groton Shipyard will face cyclical demands.”
Over two-thirds of EB employees are involved in the Virginia-class program, which is essentially, the construction part of the business. Engineering and design consists of hire replacement programs-for example, replacing the 18 Tridents. John Casey reminded the audience, “The freedoms we enjoy today are due to the Trident missile ships with special operations.”
“There are 18 ships in the Virginia Program,” said John. Already, six ships are delivered with four left to go. “We are delivering ships faster.” EB plans to deliver the Missouri, a Virginia-class sub, in the second quarter of this year, about a year ahead of schedule.
“EB continues to perform well on repair availabilities,” informed John. The Hartford returned to EB last year for repairs following a collision with a surface ship in the Mideast. It will return to the Fleet in the third quarter of 2010.
Today, the Navy is buying one sub per year from EB and Northrop Grumman Newport News, VA, but next year, the buy will increase to two subs per year. The repair work will also be reduced as the Navy directs more work to its own shipyards and increases the time between maintenance periods.
In anticipation of these changes, EB will be hiring 300 – 400 people, says John, while laying off 300 – 400 people. The layoffs will affect the construction and repair workers while the company hires more engineers and designers. “Until we get to two ships a year, we’ll have to adjust to that level. We have some challenges to work through.”
John Casey commended EB employees, stating, “They do some great things including donating $2M of their own money to United Way of Southeastern Connecticut.” They also donated both their time and money to other charities, including Breast Cancer Awareness $10,000, Heart Association $60,000, Robotics, U.S. Troop Support with 8,050 care packages shipped to troops in 2009, and others. “They do this because they care.”
Health and Wellness initiatives are an important part of the company’s corporate culture. Blood Pressure and wellness screenings will continue on site and the BIG news is, “since January 2010, EB is tobacco-free.” EB will open its own Groton pharmacy in 2010, offering savings and convenience to employees.
Breaking News – EB Distributes Layoff Notices
Electric Boat notified 434 employees that they will be laid off as the company adjusts to a downturn in its work load on January 29th.
As was announced earlier this month at a briefing for senior elected and appointed officials from Southeastern CT, the layoffs affect hourly production and production-support workers at the Groton shipyard. The laid-off employees will receive a 60-day notification period before their jobs actually end in April.