NN Shipbuilding offers more than 2,500 severance but plans to hire 2,500 more in 2019

On Monday, one week before Christmas, Newport News Shipbuilding
offered more than 2,500 employees voluntary severance packages in a letter from Jennifer Boykin, NNS president.

Why? To restructure the company and to streamline overhead costs.

“Overhead costs represent support and administrative costs not directly associated with a single project,” Duane Bourne, spokesman for NNS, wrote in an email.

The employees affected are salaried employees such as manager 3, director level and senior management.

RELATED STORY: NN Shipbuilding offers buyouts to more than 2,500 employees

The next day, the shipbuilding company announced the Fort Monroe Foundation would receive the first One Community Transformational Grant, or $300,000 over the next three years, as part of the company’s philanthropic efforts to the community.

But the grant has nothing to do with the restructuring or severance packages.

Bourne said the grant money was previously budgeted in the company’s corporate giving program and is separate from the shipbuilding company going through changes to make the company more efficient.

He said there is no quota for the number of people taking severance and the more than 2,500 employees are eligible to participate in the “voluntary program.”

The deadline is to apply for the severance program is Jan. 7, but it remains unclear what happens if employees opt-out of the buyout.

Bourne declined to elaborate.

In addition, the shipbuilding company will hire about 2,500 additional shipbuilders over the next year (2019) including trade and salaried employees, Bourne said.

The shipyard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, is working on several ongoing projects, including an overhaul of the USS George Washington (CVN 73), the construction of the Virginia-class submarines, repairing three submarines to make them readily available to the Navy, construction on the John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) aircraft carrier and a final check-up on the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN78) aircraft carrier.

Newport News Shipbuilding recently launched the Virgina-Class Submarine Delaware (SSN791) and received millions to an existing submarine contract with General Dynamic’s Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries was named one of Forbes’ Best Employers for New Grads in 2018.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.