Workforce reductions at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, are expected to total about 170 jobs, officials said this week.
That’s about 2 percent of the roughly 7,900 workers at the two nuclear weapons plants.
The workforce reductions are expected to come through a voluntary separation program, or VSP.
The majority of the reductions, or 140 positions, would be at Y-12. The other 30 would be at Pantex.
The VSPs are being considered as a new federal contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, prepares to take over at Y-12 and Pantex on July 1. CNS, which was first announced as the new consolidated contractor in January 2013, has promised to save the federal government more than $3 billion during the next decade.
In a message to employees last week, Dave Richardson, B&W Y-12 president and general manager, said the plant’s VSP has been approved by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees work at Y-12 and Pantex. The VSP was based on input from CNS as part of their staffing plan for the consolidated contract, Richardson said.
Approximately 1,100 people will be eligible for the VSP at Y-12. Eligible employees were to be notified on April 24, and they have until noon May 12 to apply. Those who apply will be notified on May 16 whether their application has been approved. The last day of work for all approved VSP participants will be no later than June 30, Richardson said.
“This VSP is very targeted and as such will be limited to specific organizations and then to job classifications/roles within those organizations,” Richardson said. “It is open only to individual contributors, not supervisors or managers, and only to non-critical skills positions.”
B&W Y-12 spokesperson Ellen Boatner said Y-12 had 4,831 contractor employees as of the end of March.
Richardson said B&W Y-12 will use seniority or company service to determine whose application is accepted if more VSP applications are received than can be accepted. The more senior or longer-service employees will have preference.
Richardson said the severance package for the VSP will be 70 percent of the amounts identified in the prime contract for non-bargaining personnel and in the collective bargaining agreements for bargaining unit personnel.
Ed Veiga, B&W Pantex public affairs manager, said 162 employees are eligible for the VSP at Pantex. That plant has about 3,100 workers.
Earlier this month, officials said they expected the staff reductions to be less than 5 percent. CNS Chief Executive Officer Jim Haynes said many of the CNS plans for cost savings will come from efficiencies and process improvements that do not directly affect employees.
“However, some of the cost savings will necessarily come from adjusting the size of the workforce and controlling the cost of benefit plans,” he said.