Sikorsky to layoff 160 employees by end of August

Published 3:01 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sikorsky Aircraft in Troy will lay off approximately 160 employees by August due to reduced production of Seahawk helicopters.

“On June 26, we informed employees of a workforce reduction at our Troy facility,” said Paul Jackson, director of communications at Sikorsky. “Production of the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter – the primary source of work for the facility – is declining after successfully meeting customer requirements. A reduction is necessary at this time to ensure we remain competitive.

“This will impact approximately 160 employees who will exit the business by the end of August. A Voluntary Separation Offer will be made to all eligible union-represented employees in accordance with the bargaining agreement.

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“We will continue to work closely with members of the Alabama congressional delegation and our customers to bring additional work to the facility.”

Sikorsky last reported employing over 650 people in Pike County. Lockheed Martin, itself a direct provider of 325 local jobs, purchased the company in 2015.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Alabama, said that while she is disappointed in the layoffs, she is thankful the facility will remain open.

“There has been concern for some time that Sikorsky’s Troy facility would close entirely,” said Roby, whose 2nd District includes Pike County. “While I’m grateful the plant will remain open, these layoffs are very disappointing news for the community and each family impacted. The Navy is growing its fleet of ships, but that growth has not yet translated to Seahawk production. We need more certainty for Sikorsky going forward, and that’s why I authored language in our Defense Appropriations bill directing the Secretary of the Navy to outline their Seahawk procurement strategy.”

The House Appropriations Committee on which Roby serves approved the Fiscal Year Defense Appropriations bill Wednesday. It included language authored by Roby instructing the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to Congress outlining its procurement strategy for the Seahawk helicopter to align with the Navy’s plans to grow its fleet. This report is due within 90 days.

Marsha Gaylard, president of Pike County Economic Development Corp., said the agency is working with Sikorsky to find jobs for displaced employees.

“Anybody that will get laid off is more than welcome to come by and leave their resume and we’ll pass it on to people that we know that are hiring,” Gaylard said. “I know they’re working on acquiring more contracts, and we’re trying to help them with some other kind of work. Hopefully there will be some kind of turnaround soon. They’ve always weathered the storm and come back and that’s what we’re expecting to happen this time.”

Mayor Jason Reeves said the city is also working with Sikorsky and talking to other companies that could provide jobs in the area.

“Certainly Sikorsky is a large and important employer in this area,” Reeves said. “We’re trying to be helpful in finding additional work. They’re going to look very hard to find more and more diverse things to do as well as aircraft.

“We’re working very hard with other companies to bring several jobs to Troy,” Reeves said. “We hope to make an announcement in the near future and hopefully in the next months or years, we’ll not only be back to full strength but exceed it.”