Three Hanford contractors plan to lay off a combined 450 workers for the 2014 fiscal year.
HANFORD, WA - Hundreds of Hanford workers now face layoffs, just before the holidays arrive.
Three contractors announced Thursday morning that a combined 450 jobs will be cut in fiscal year 2014. There is some good news, though. Not all of the layoffs will happen right away and the first round of cuts are by volunteers.
Managers at the contractors said the do have an aging workforce and, for some, retirement may have already been in their sites.
"There's only so much money to do the work and when you have that, you have to adjust your work scope to meet that funding guidance," said Deanna Hawkings with Mission Support Alliance.
Uncertainty surrounding federal funding for the Department of Energy's budget means the work at Hanford will be scaled back. CH2M Hill announced that less work will be done on Groundwater Treatment and the Sludge Treatment Project.
"We all want Hanford to be cleaned up. There are milestones there is a moral obligation, a legal obligation and so the idea of reducing the amount of work is going to raise those issues," said Carl Adrian of TRIDEC.
Washington River Protection Solutions will be hardest hit. 250 employees will be out of a job there after January 30th. CH2M Hill will lay off another 100 from December to next September. Mission Support Alliance is set to cut their workforce by 100, as well.
All three contractors are accepting voluntary layoffs first, between December 2nd and 13th.
"Because this is work-scope based, we have the right to say, okay, we can't accept your volunteering because your position is necessary. We can't let that position go because it's necessary for the work scope we have planned," said Hawkins.
"We don't know really if all 450 are going to be laid off. This is going to be stretched out over 9-10 months. As the budget picture changes, I'm sure some of the staffing pictures are going to change also," said Adrian.
The local labor economist said Hanford wages make up 30% of the Tri-Cities income. She believes the layoffs could have a ripple effect through the community as many sub-contractors find they have less work, as well.