Almost 150 people learned Monday that they are losing their jobs at Hanford in the first round of layoffs linked to the end of federal economic stimulus money.
Mission Support Alliance notified all 68 employees who had applied for a voluntary layoff that their applications had been accepted.
But the Hanford contractor, which provides support services for the nuclear reservation, had been prepared to accept up to 200 voluntary layoff applications, said spokeswoman Deanna Smith.
To help make up the difference, it notified 76 employees that they also would be laid off. All 144 employees will leave their jobs at month's end.
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Hanford staffed up when it received $1.96 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money starting in spring 2009 to supplement annual budgets of about $2 billion. Most of the one-time money is expected to be spent by Sept. 30.
Although Mission Support Alliance received none of the economic stimulus money directly, it increased staff to support other contractors, including hiring and providing training and information technology services.
It expects to cut its staff by 300 by the end of September. A second request for employees who want to leave voluntarily is planned in May.
In addition, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., which received $1.3 billion of the Hanford economic stimulus money, expects to cut 1,350 jobs through a combination of voluntary and involuntary layoffs.
The central Hanford cleanup contractor told employees in January that they could volunteer for layoffs during a 21-day period starting in late May. Jobs are expected to be cut in July, August and September.
The Mission Support Alliance employees who received layoff notices Monday included a broad range of management, administration, professional and organized labor employees, Smith said.
Employees will receive one week's severance pay for every year worked, up to 20 years. In addition, workers may elect continued medical coverage under a DOE program for displaced workers.
Mission Support Alliance is working with WorkSource Columbia Basin to help workers find new jobs. DOE also has arranged for a virtual worker transition center, which will offer computerized job search services nationwide to environmental cleanup workers.
An early retirement program had been proposed for Hanford contractor employees, but DOE did not approve it, finding it too costly.
-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org