Hanford layoffs not based just on seniority

Aug 1, 2011

RICHLAND, Wash. – Seniority won't be the only factor for determining layoffs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Pink slips are expected in six weeks by several Hanford contractors because federal stimulus money is tapering off.

CH2MHill and Mission Support Alliance are the federal contractors planning on the 1,600 lay-offs. The companies say union employees will lose their jobs based on seniority: those with the least experience going first.

But non-union employees are subject to layoffs based on their performance and in-demand skill sets for future work.

David Molnaa is the president of the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, which represents 15 unions at Hanford. He expects 800 of his members to be laid off.

Molnaa adds regardless of who goes and who stays, until September it's going to be difficult for workers to stay focused.

"Even though the layoff were expected, out on site it’s extremely depressing," Molnaa says. "Morale is going to suffer."

A CH2MHill spokeswoman say the company is encouraging managers to spend more time with workers to mitigate any distractions on the job.

Hanford contractors plan a job fair for laid-off workers in Pasco on August 19.

Copyright 2011 Northwest Public Radio