UTC cancels worker furloughs, Lockheed scales back layoffs

Oct. 7, 2013 at 3:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department's recall of most of its furloughed civilian workers has caused a rethink of planned layoffs by contractors for the time being.

United Technologies Corp., which said last week it was going to furlough some 4,000 defense project employees, rescinded the action Monday while Lockheed Martin curtailed its planned layoffs to 2,400 from about 3,000.

"The Department of Defense's decision will not eliminate the impact of the government shutdown on the company's employees and the business," Lockheed said. "The company will still have approximately 2,400 employees unable to work because the civil government facility where they perform their work is closed, or we've received a stop-work order on their DOD or civil government program.

"Of the 2,400 employees, approximately 2,100 work on civilian agency programs and 300 work on DOD programs. The affected employees are located in 27 states, with the majority based in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

"We continue to urge Congress and the administration to come to an agreement that funds the government as soon as possible," it said.

The shutdown of the U.S. government, which began Oct.1, is a result of a partisan stalemate between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over of temporary funding of government programs until a new budget is passed. Democrats, and President Barak Obama, insist the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act -- popularly known as Obamacare -- must be funded -- now. Republicans want to withhold funding for Obamacare or amend provisions of enactment. The result is no agreement in Congress to continue the funding of government programs.

Government employees judged not essential to the running of key programs such as entitlement programs, law enforcement and national defense, have been furloughed without pay since last Tuesday, the start of the fiscal year.

On the weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the recall of most of the 350,000-400,000 furloughed Defense Department civilians following Congress' passage of the "Pay Our Military Act," that allows for the paying of salaries to uniformed military personnel and some civilians.

"Today, I am announcing that most DOD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week," Hagel said Saturday.

"We have tried to exempt as many DOD civilian personnel as possible from furloughs. We will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible."

Among those returning to work are Defense Contract Management Agency inspectors who audit and approve operations throughout the manufacturing process.

UTC specifically spotlighted the earlier absence of inspectors as the reason for the then-planned employee cutback.

"Without the required DCMA inspectors, who were deemed non-essential federal employees, certain defense manufacturing work must be halted, which will result in employee furloughs," UTC said

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