By Jim Mackinnon
Beacon Journal business writer
Lockheed Martin says it expects to offer about 380 of its 600 Akron employees the opportunity to transfer to jobs out of state as part of the planned closing of its Massillon Road campus.
Lockheed Martin will start laying off people in Akron starting June 26 and will continue the process for about 18 months, according to a new filing with the state.
Altogether, 506 people are expected to be laid off from the plant and offices near Akron Fulton International Airport, the giant defense contractor said in the filing. The layoffs are expected to end by Dec. 17, 2015, the company said.
The Akron work will be transferred to Lockheed Martin locations in Baltimore; Bothell, Wash.; Orlando, Fla., and Owego, N.Y., a company spokesman said. The majority of the 380 job openings available to the Akron campus employees will be in Orlando, he said.
“Employee exit dates will not begin until June 2014 at the earliest,” Lockheed Martin spokesman Keith Little said via email. “We are announcing the notifications and program transitions now to give employees as much advance notice as possible to prepare for changes.”
The transition schedules are designed to be in line with customer commitments and to minimize program disruptions, Little said.
“Through a phased approach, all programs, including manufacturing work, will transition no later than the end of 2015,” he said.
Lockheed Martin did not say if any of its local unionized workforce — about 100 of the 600 total — would be offered a job transfer.
The company and Local 856 of the United Auto Workers recently reached a plant closure agreement in which hourly workers will receive 12 months of free health-care benefits. Workers also get severance and three “retention payments” designed to keep them at the plant until various contracts are finished.
Lockheed Martin’s letter, dated Jan. 29, was filed with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as part of the WARN (Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification) Act.
“This announcement and the above timetable are the best information currently available. However, various factors may still affect the timing of any employment separations,” the company letter says.
About 70 people are expected to be retained to work at the local landmark Akron Airdock, where Lockheed Martin signed a long-term lease, the company has said previously. Lockheed Martin has used the Akron Airdock for aerostat (tethered blimp) and airship testing and assembly.
Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, a $47.2 billion defense contractor, in November stunned the area when it announced it was closing its Akron facility and four other operations elsewhere, citing declining government defense spending as the primary reason.
The Akron facility is part of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training division that provides flight simulators, missile defense systems, radar systems and more.
Lockheed Martin said it will be cutting about 4,000 jobs overall.
The company also intends to close operations in Newtown, Pa.; Goodyear, Ariz.; Horizon City, Texas; and four buildings in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.