General Dynamics To Lay Off 2,000 More in Fort Worth
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ General Dynamics Corp. will lay off another 2,000 employees at its Fort Worth Division, reducing the work force there to its lowest level since 1985, the leading defense contractor said.
Workers build the F-16 jet fighter and components for the F-111 jet at the plant, one of the largest employers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. About 3,500 were laid off two months ago after the Pentagon canceled development of the A- 12 stealth attack plane, $1 billion over budget and a year behind schedule.
Since then, the company has been giving layoff notices to about 200 people weekly, citing declining government defense procurements. There are now 1,700 General Dynamics’ workers with 60-day layoff notices.
The new round of 2,000 notices will be sent to salaried and hourly workers next Monday. More cuts are possible later, the company said.
″Recent months have been difficult for the Fort Worth division,″ Herb Rogers, plant manager, said in a letter to employees Monday.
″We have experienced continued downsizing and the disappointment of the A- 12 cancellation, which was unexpected and unjust in our view,″ he said.
When the latest round of layoffs is complete, there will be 19,000 workers at the plant, down from 31,000 in January 1990. Employment has been above 19,000 since 1985 as the company filled F-16 orders and began A-12 development.
Rogers said the Fort Worth Division’s employees must demonstrate better performance on current contracts and work together to win future projects.
Some defense industry analysts predict General Dynamics, Lockheed Corp. and Boeing Co. will team to win the production bid for the Air Force’s Advanced Tactical Fighter, a $63 billion program.
Statistical measurements of the effect of the layoffs are still being collected. State unemployment figures for February, which would reflect the January layoff, will be released later this week.
But home sales dropped 27 percent last month, the lowest since 1988, the Fort Worth Board of Realtors reported. The United Way of Tarrant County blamed layoffs at General Dynamics for a drop in contributions.
Churches near the plant said contributions remained steady though.
″While times are difficult and family income may have suffered, the churches still have been able to ... make people see that their gifts are important,″ said Gayland Pool of the Tarrant Area Community of Churches.