Layoffs at Hanford to be fewer than expected

By Annette Cary, Tri-City HeraldAugust 31, 2012 

CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. will hold its layoffs in September to 200 or fewer Hanford workers, it told workers Thursday.

It had planned two layoffs in the fiscal year that ends in September with up to 400 workers total. In the first round, 58 workers lost their jobs through voluntary or involuntary layoffs.

But instead of laying off up to about 340 workers to reach as many as 400 job cuts, it will limit the layoffs to a maximum of just half of the 400 in September. It already has notified the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council that the 200 layoffs possible in September will include 95 union workers, including 28 who volunteered for layoffs.

The central Hanford contractor for the Department of Energy employs about 1,700 workers, including the employees of subcontractors picked by CH2M Hill before it won the contract, who could be included in the layoffs.

Work priorities have shifted to continue to align with DOE's 2015 Vision, which includes completing most environmental cleanup along the Columbia River, operating groundwater treatment plants and tearing down the Plutonium Finishing Plant, employees were told when the layoff plan was announced in the spring.

Many laid-off employees will be eligible for the standard Hanford severance package, which includes a week's pay for every year worked up to 20 years. Workers also may be eligible for the Displaced Workers Medical Benefits Program.

The last day of work for laid-off workers will be Sept. 27.

Mission Support Alliance, the Hanford support services contractor, also announced this week that it would complete 100 layoffs this fiscal year, with 11 more job cuts in September.

Washington Closure Hanford also is cutting fewer jobs this fiscal year than initially announced. It was prepared to cut 210 positions in the fiscal year that ends in September as work ramped down toward the completion of cleanup up along the Columbia River and the end of its federal contract in 2015.

But the contractor reduced that estimate to about 110 jobs cut after additional contamination has been found as cleanup has progressed.

Bechtel National, the contractor building the Hanford vitrification plant, announced in April that it would cut 200 to 300 nonconstruction jobs between spring and the end of the calendar year.

CH2M Hill and WorkSource Columbia Basin plan a job fair open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 11 at Washington State University Tri-Cities' Consolidated Information Center on the Richland campus. At least 60 companies seeking employees and interns are expected. Workshops are planned on job searches, resume writing, interviewing and starting a business. Resumes also will be evaluated and improvements suggested.

For information, call 372-7600.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com

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