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May 5, 2004
GROTON — Submarine maker Electric Boat is laying off 134 workers in its design and engineering force effective July 2, citing the end of several major design projects, The Day of New London reported Tuesday.
Many of the affected workers, who were notified Monday, have worked for a year or less at the Groton shipyard.
"We've agonized over the reduction in our design and engineering business over the last several months," EB President John Casey said in a prepared statement issued Monday. "Unfortunately, we don't have enough design work to support the current size of the Innovation organization."
The company will allow 21 workers who received pink slips to be eligible to return to previous jobs they have held in the shipyard. Others can apply for other EB jobs that are available.
Robert Nardone, vice president for human resources, said the company is reviewing every job it has open to see whether the laid-off designers would be suitable to fill them.
"We think we can place a good number of the people who are being impacted," Nardone said. "I think there's a decent opportunity, but obviously it will depend on the individual and what they want to do. Clearly, we have invested a lot in these people, and we'd like to keep them here."
The layoffs represent about 4.5 percent of EB's 3,000-person design force. The affected workers will be allowed to spend up to 40 paid hours over the next two months at the Connecticut Works offices in New London or Norwich in searches for new jobs.
The state Department of Labor's rapid response force will be at EB Wednesday and Thursday to help laid-off workers prepare job-search strategies. In addition, EB has given two union members an office in its design building to provide peer-counseling service to members who received layoff notices.
"We're also trying to get some state retraining money now so we can help these folks get on with their lives," said John A. Worobey Jr., president of the Marine Draftsmen's Association, which represents 127 of the laid-off workers.
Worobey said he was unsure why so many of the jobs to be cut came from his membership and just seven from the 2,200 engineers and supervisors who are not part of the union.