NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Newport News Shipbuilding is offering buyouts to 2,500 salaried "manager three" and director-level employees.
The company insists this is a voluntary program, and there are no plans for any other reductions in manpower.
The world's only maker of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers wants to become more efficient and effective and said it must transform its business.
So, the company sent letters Monday to those employees "with the higher levels of overhead costs," offering them voluntary severance packages.
"It's designed to say, we've got these senior-level executives with a lot of experience nearing retirement anyway," said Tidewater Community College business professor Peter Shaw. "Why not offer a deal to expedite it?"
Shaw said it's a smart move.
"The corporation has a situation where they're going to be able to lower some of the high-end personnel costs without damaging the operations of the company," he said. "Secondly, those that take it, they're pleased with the buy-out plan and they get on with their lives."
The company declined a request for an interview, but it provided a copy of the letter from shipyard President Jennifer Boykin to the affected employees.
In it, she wrote: "We are still hiring... Our business outlook is strong, and we are growing... We have the unique responsibility to meet the U.S. Navy's needs, make NNS stronger and position ourselves to reach our full potential to ensure future success for the generations of shipbuilders who will build upon our legacy.
Employees who take the buy-out will be paid up to 26 weeks of severance, depending on their years of service.
They will separate from the company no later than next March 1st.
"It's really a win-win for everybody," Shaw said.
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