Roby works to counter furloughs as Lockheed Martin announces 3,000

Published 5:22 pm Friday, October 4, 2013

Word handed down from Lockheed Martin’s corporate office on Friday reported more bad news for Pike County regarding the U.S. government’s continued shutdown.

About 3,000 employees nationwide have been identified for furlough to begin on Monday, according to information from Lockheed Martin.

The number of employees is expected to go up each week, the company noted, if the shutdown is prolonged. There has been no official public word from the company on how many people in Pike County might be affected.

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“Today’s announcement affects all our business areas across the country,” said Gordon Johndroe, vice president of worldwide media relations for Lockheed Martin Corporation. “We remain in discussions with our customers to assess individual program impacts. This is an ongoing situation and it’s premature to say where the immediate effects are right now.”

A memo posted on the company’s website to employees said that employees currently affected by the shutdown would be notified on Friday by their supervisor or program manager.

“In an effort to minimize the impact on our employees and their families, those affected will be directed to use available vacation time and floating holidays in lieu of being furloughed. Employees who don’t have sufficient vacation available will be advanced up to 40 hours,” the memo said.

Employees will be transitioned to unpaid furlough leave if the shutdown extends beyond available vacation time.

“I’m disappointed that we must take these actions and we continue to encourage our lawmakers to come together to pass a funding bill that will end this shutdown,” said Marillyn A. Hewson, Lockheed Martin chief executive officer and president.

The furloughs are reportedly necessary because government facilities where some work is done are closed, work requires a government inspection that cannot be completed, or the company has received a stop work order.

Locally, Lockheed Martin employs about 300 people at the Pike County facility.

Friday’s news comes after Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced earlier in the week its plans to furlough about 2,000 employees beginning Monday due to the government shutdown – including about 500 employees at Sikorsky’s Troy facility.

The furloughs expected to impact local facilities are an issue U.S. Rep. Martha Roby worked to improve on Friday.

Roby sent a letter to the White House urging the President’s Administration to “exercise its legal authority” to prevent work stoppages at major defense manufacturing facilities acting in support of the U.S. Armed Services.

Roby’s letter, written prior to the Lockheed announcement, specifically addressed Sikorsky’s furloughs.

She wrote, “Workers at the Troy plant manufacture critical parts for MH-60R/60S Seahawk helicopters that are used by the U.S. Navy. The workflow interruptions are directly attributable to the absence of Defense Contract Management Agency inspectors who are required to examine manufactured parts…”

Roby posed that the Pay Our Military Act on Sept. 29, which includes some civilians, would allow inspectors to continue to work.

“…I hope your Administration will use every authority under the law to reduce the impact of the shutdown on our national defense,” Roby wrote.