U.S.

August 24, 2012

News Briefs – August 24, 2012

Lockheed Martin to cut 550 jobs at Georgia plant

 

Aerospace firm Lockheed Martin is cutting 550 jobs at its metro Atlanta plant as production of its C-130 aircraft slows, officials said.

The move was announced Aug. 22 but is already under way, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Cuts at the Marietta plant were needed because production of the latest version of the plane, the C-130J, has plunged by one-third from 2011 to 2013, Lockheed spokesman Peter Simmons said.

The company will use retirements and attrition to account for some of the job cuts, with the rest accomplished through layoffs, Simmons said.

“It’s painful,” said Denise Rakestraw, who heads Local Lodge 709. The union represents thousands of Lockheed’s Marietta employees.

“There’s still long-term confidence in the C-130 line,” Rakestraw added. “It’s the most tried and true. I think we’ll work through this. It’s not going to be a real momentary blip, but it’s the nature of the industry to have ups and downs.”

Workers at the Marietta plant produced 36 C-130Js in 2011 to meet the U.S. government’s demand, but that number dropped to 32 this year and is set to fall to 24 per year starting in 2013.

Lockheed employs about 8,700 people in Georgia, including about 7,440 at its Marietta plant. Since 2010 the number of Marietta employees has dropped by about 600, and the plant last spring ended production of the F-22 fighter jet.

More than 250 people have already lost their jobs since the beginning of the year, Rakestraw said. The jobs pay between $20 to $26 an hour. AP

 

Navy, U.S. nuclear companies sign workforce deal

 

The U.S. Navy and members of the nuclear power industry have signed a deal meant to help Navy veterans with specialized training find civilian jobs.

A trade group says the civilian power industry needs to fill 25,000 positions over the next four years. Utility companies need to replace those retiring from an aging workforce and find new workers to staff plants now under construction in the southeast.

The industry has long recruited engineers and other skilled workers from the Navy, which operates a large fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships.

Navy veterans can now have their contact information given to industry recruiters at 30 companies that signed the agreement of understanding. Navy recruiters will have access to those in an industry training program. AP

 

Qantas cancels $8.5 billion worth of Boeing 787 orders

 

Australian airline Qantas is canceling an order for 35 of Boeing’s new 787 jets as it tries to cut costs.

The jets would have been worth $8.5 billion at list prices, although discounts are common on large orders.

The financially struggling airline is still buying 15 787-8s. It is also keeping options that allow it to buy as many as 50 of Boeing’s longer 787-9. But it’s canceling orders for 35 of those jets.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the change is part of trying to make Qantas profitable.

Boeing says Qantas has been a long-standing customer and it will work with the airline to help it adapt. AP

 

Union files complaint for stifling talk at Boeing

 

A union representing Boeing engineers and technical workers has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the company of stifling discussion at its plants.

The News Tribune reports the union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, claims the company told employees they were banned from making negative comments about Boeing.

The union said Boeing company representatives made those remarks at an employee orientation meeting last week.

The charges were filed as Boeing and SPEEA are negotiating for a new contract. Their present contract expires Oct. 6.

Boeing spokesman Tim Healy says the company has not yet seen the complaint and can’t comment on its specifics. He says Boeing doesn’t prohibit its employees from voicing their own opinions about the company. AP

 

Ohio museum gets space shuttle trainer

 

It wasn’t a space shuttle, but the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force got the next best thing.

A space shuttle crew compartment trainer arrived at the museum near Dayton aboard a cargo plane Aug. 22. It’s a mockup of the shuttle nose and cockpit that trained hundreds of astronauts for space.

The Dayton Daily News reports that over the next year, the museum will build a mock-up of a payload bay and a tail section. A new $48 million hangar will be built in 2014 to house the 23,000-pound artifact.

The three retired shuttles went to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the California Science Center in Los Angeles, and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. AP

 

Australia buys U.S. Growler air warfare technology

 

Officials say Australia has become the first country other than the United States to buy Boeing EA-18G Growler advanced electronic warfare technology.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith said Aug. 23 the Australian air force will equip 12 of Australia’s F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters with Growler radar-jamming equipment and other gear to knock out a wide array of electronic devices. The upgrade starting in 2018 will cost $1.5 billion.

The sharing of rare U.S. military technology now in service with the U.S. Navy comes as the United States deepens its defense ties with Australia and juggles its might in the Asia-Pacific region in response to the rise of China. AP

 




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