Shipbuilding buyouts remain unclear, even after deadline passes

The deadline for “more than” 2,500 employees to apply for the Newport News Shipbuilding’s voluntary severance program has passed.

And questions about the program remain unanswered.

On Dec. 17, Jennifer Boykin, president of the Newport News Shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, offered more than 2,500 employees voluntary severance in a letter as part of the company’s decision to streamline overhead costs.

The affected employees, including those in manager 3, director level and senior management positions, had a little more than two weeks to apply for the severance program before the Jan. 7 deadline.

Southside Daily’s sister publication, WYDaily, made numerous attempts to contact the Newport News Shipbuilding about the number of people offered severance, how many people accepted the offer and what the company plans to do now the deadline for enrollment has passed.

Duane Bourne, spokesman for NNS sent the following statement Tuesday afternoon in an email:

“We received a favorable response to the recent voluntary severance program offer to eligible employees. The applications to participate in the program were in line with company projections, which will allow us to continue our focus on streamlining overhead costs. The applications will be reviewed by our leadership team, and those employees who participate in the program will be required to sign a separation agreement and general release prior to their last day of work. Most employees will work until March 1. However, a small number may be extended to complete critical projects and turnover.”

WYDaily also tried to contact Sen. Tim Kaine, D-VA, member of the U.S. Armed Services Committee, if the shipbuilding company’s decision to offer severance to more than 2,500 employees and hire an additional 2,500 people this year made sense.

He did not respond.

It is also unclear if the amended and new Navy contracts will affect the voluntary severance program in any way.

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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.