March 6, 2013

Lake City employees are offered voluntary layoffs

Cutbacks are mainly the result of modernization, not sequestration, says Alliant Techsystems.

Hourly workers at the federally owned Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence have been given voluntary layoff offers as part of a plan to reduce the workforce of 2,600.

The cutbacks result mainly from modernization efforts during the last eight years, according to Bryan Kidder, a spokesman for Alliant Techsystems, which operates the facility for the U.S. Army.

Previously, the Army had said the plant’s 30 government employees could see cutbacks as part of the federal cuts known as sequestration. Kidder said the layoff plans are not related to sequestration.

Kidder said that the number of expected job cuts and their timing is unknown but that an involuntary layoff probably will follow the voluntary departures.

He said such cutbacks typically involve a separation package for employees based on the number of years they have worked.

Virginia-based Alliant, which operates the plant through ATK Small Caliber Systems, has a four-year contract through September and a subsequent contract for the next seven to 10 years. It has operated Lake City since April 2000.

ATK and the Army have invested $400 million to increase the plant’s efficiency in producing ammunition of various calibers, Kidder said.

New technology targets the long practice of operating machines across two floors of the plant. Teams of employees will oversee equipment and monitor instruments and gauges rather than have a separate team for each production line, Kidder said.

He also attributed the cutbacks to “recent drawdowns in military actions.”

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