Unhappy New Year: Local Sperry HQ to shut down as layoffs loom

Northrop Grumman announced plans Friday to shut down its Charlottesville-based Sperry Marine U.S. headquarters, leaving its 37 employee with uncertain futures. While a spokesperson for the company says that a "small number" of employees will be allowed to transfer to the company's large Marine Systems unit on Route 29, the rest will be "laid off" at the end of January 2012.  

“Every effort will be made to assist impacted individuals in finding new employment," says Northrop Grumman spokesperson Jack Martin in an email to the Hook. "Affected employees will receive all separation and other benefits to which they are entitled, and the company will also provide outplacement assistance to help those who will be seeking other employment including at other Northrop Grumman facilities."

Martin says that a United Kingdom-based Sperry Marine facility will take over the Charlottesville office's duties, though workers in Europe are not immune to Northrop Grumman cost-cutting efforts. Martin says that 60 to 70 positions through Europe could be eliminated as well.

The international marine industry has been hit hard by the global recession, explains Martin. As a result, orders for Sperry Marine products and services are down.

"It is imperative that we realign our facilities and staffing levels to better meet the requirements of our customers," he says.

Martin says the current announcement will not affect the facility on Route 29, which employs over 600 people.

However, as the Hook reported in October, Northrop Grumman plans to lay off as many as 800 people at its U.S. facilities in Maryland and elsewhere across the U.S. by the end of January, which could affect the Route 29 facility. Indeed, back in May, 60 local Sperry Marine employees were let go, and another 26 lost their jobs in June.

According to a company spokesperson at the time, a company-wide "voluntary separation program" began just days after that October 19 announcement. 

“Should these voluntary efforts not fully address the staffing situation, we will initiate an involuntary reduction to ensure our headcount is consistent with our current and anticipated business base," said then-company spokesperson Alleace M. Gibbs. "We expect the involuntary reduction to be completed by the end of January 2012."



This isn't the first or the last defense oriented company that will see layoffs. Bloated defense spending is coming to an end. However you feel about this, the loss of good jobs based in America does not bode well for the country.

There is a huge shift occurring in economic leadership across the globe with the Euro, once thought to be a return of European power faultering, and China and India on the rise.

Wars have been the economic engine that lifted America out of the doldrums, but this time will be different - wars will be fought not with American manufactured weapons but those made oversees, and not with a fighting force of thousands, but with smart weapons guided by technology, also manufactured oversees.

If America is to regain economic parity it will come by strengthening the European currency and forming a strong partnership to balance the might of China.

America must do more to keep good jobs in America and to repair it's crumbling infrastructure, innovate it's energy consumption, not with old fashioned gas and coal, but conservation through high tech solution, based on American soil.

On the local front developers were hoping the defense industry would lift the housing market --not happening, in fact we are seeing more foreclosures and lower prices now than in years past, and I predict this isn't over yet. NGIC employees are renting in large part, and the predicted expansion is very shaky and may not materialize as imagined.

Real estate investment is no longer the golden egg of the past .

The "Hope and Change (TM)" isn't working for them either! Maybe if they had donated more money to Obama like the directors at Solyndra, things would have turned out better for them.

but, Dope and Chains is..............

Amzing that the UK , supposedly a terrible socialized greedy labour location will take over the duties.Our jobs go to the UK. Hmmmm, could it be the failure for the US to accept that our bloated over priced healthcare system has anything to do with it, when it competes with the UK's far leaner, meaner, efficient NHS? With more than 20% of our dollars going to everything but actual healthcare, our workers are made far more expensive.

But nope, we won't learn until our emplire has come rashing down our ears. But the Tea Partiers and will be happy as long as their gummint benefits haven't run out.

Poorly written article where most people will think the Rt. 29 facility is closing unless they read carefully.

Caesonia I'm so in the universal health care camp, but NHS is a nightmare. It *is* meaner though.

Had we not been fighting 3 fronts at once, both the Navy and the Air Force could use their budgets towards the new fleets they have requested, but every time a troop draw down is presented in congress, the GOP cries "NO! NO! Leave them there to die!"

These folks being laid off should take some comfort in the fact that President Downgrade and Moochelle are living large, as are Pelosi and Reid. They can relax at home as Obama peddles more hope and change snake oil and fills everyone's ears with the poo he reads off his teleprompter. The MSM geniuses can then spin all the dismal stats on the economy so those 37 will forget they have no prospects and think Obama and the libs are doing a great job. We're all just too stupid to understand that and can't see the "big picture".

The jobs being cut per this article are in the commercial realm. Also, Sperry hasn't said the jobs are going to the UK, just that the functions will be moved there. They are probably just reassigning the work but not hiring there.