Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Local defense contractors attempting to hold-on to workers


MARCH 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Local defense contractors attempting to hold-on to workers


REGION, February 17th- Cuts in the United States defense budget has resulted in lay-offs at the General Dynamics Land Systems plant in Eynon, Lackawanna County.

The United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union Local 1193 represents the workers employed at the plant, which reconditions parts for the M1A1 Abrams tank. The tank was used in combat in Irag and Afghanistan.

Local 1193 had approxiamtely 200 members at the Eynon facility in 2010, however more than 50 workers have been laid-off, many fearing permanently, due to cut-backs in defense spending in Washington, DC.

“There is talk about shutting down the program for four years and then restarting it. We doubt that would happen. The restart costs would be unbelievable and our members would need to find other jobs,” Ken Klinkel, President of Local 11993 told the newspaper in a previous edition.

The Department of Labor (DOL) Rapid Response Team met with the dislocated workers of the plant.

The Rapid Response Team includes officials which represent agencies that assist laid-off or soon to be laid-off workers in gaining new employment, signing-up for unemployment benefits, and explaining to them other programs that are available to help them with the job loss.

Mr. Klinkel told the newspaper the tank was heavily used during the war in Irag, but with the “pull-back” of American forces in the middle-east, funding for the tank program has been cut.

Mr. Klinkel stated with problems currently on-going with Iran, which has threatened to attack American ships and has stated would attempt to stop oil from being shipped from the region, now is not the time to make further cuts to the Abrams tank program.

Defense cuts also affected the General Dynamics Corporation ammunition plant in Scranton. The workers of the plant are represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 847.

The plant however has been successful in gaining other contracts, such as providing “elbows” used in drilling for natural gas, to keep workers employed during the military cut-backs.

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