Lockheed Martin Aeronautics escapes furloughs

Posted Monday, Oct. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth was spared from a corporate plan to furlough 2,400 workers because of the government shutdown, even as the Defense Department called back most civilian employees.

Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Md., reduced its planned furloughs from 3,000 originally announced Friday after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday that most of the nearly 400,000 civilian Defense Department workers would return to work because they are considered essential for national security.

“There is no immediate impact here in Fort Worth or in any of our aeronautics sites,” said Ken Ross, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, where the F-35 and F-16 fighter jets are built. The west-side division employs more than 14,000.

Despite civilian defense workers coming back to work, about 2,400 at Lockheed are still unable to work because civilian government sites are closed or the military contractor received an order from agencies to stop work, Lockheed said in a statement.

Most of the Lockheed furloughs involved workers in the Washington, D.C., area, though the company said workers in 27 states were affected. Only 300 of the furloughed employees work on military programs.

About 82 percent of Lockheed’s $47.2 billion in sales in 2012 came from the U.S. government — including 61 percent from the Pentagon, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The company does work for a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Energy Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

United Technologies, the government’s sixth-largest contractor, called off plans to put 2,000 workers on leave at its Sikorsky Aircraft unit.

“United Technologies greatly appreciates the efforts of those in the administration and Congress who facilitated the recall of the furloughed civilian employees,” the company said in an e-mail statement Sunday.

Computer Sciences Corp. also furloughed “some employees whose workload is substantially decreased as a result of the government shutdown,” Heather Williams, a spokeswoman for the Falls Church, Va.-based contractor, said in an e-mail. She didn’t say how many staffers were on leave or where they worked.

A U.S. unit of London-based BAE Systems said last week that it had excused from work about 1,000 employees in its intelligence and security division.

As many as 15 percent of the 34,500 U.S.-based employees of BAE Systems Inc., its U.S. unit, may be affected by the shutdown, the company said last week.

Brian Roehrkasse, a spokesman for the division, didn’t provide comment on whether any of its workers may be reinstated or protected from the government closing after the Pentagon decision.

“Many of those 1,000 workers who were excused by their government agencies” support intelligence agencies, not the Defense Department, Roehrkasse said in an e-mail Monday.

Boeing, the No. 2 contractor, said last week it may begin “limited furloughs” this week. The Chicago-based company hasn’t received “specific information” from its Defense Department customers about the plans to reinstate workers, said Meghan McCormick, a Boeing spokeswoman.

“Therefore it would be inappropriate to speculate about what it might mean for Boeing employees and operations,” McCormick said in an e-mail yesterday.

Staff writer Yamil Berard contributed to this report, which includes material from Bloomberg News.

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