Hanford

Hanford contractors plan to cut up to 300 jobs

CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. plans to finish environmental cleanup work at the 618-10 Burial Ground north of Richland by the end of September.
CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. plans to finish environmental cleanup work at the 618-10 Burial Ground north of Richland by the end of September. Tri-City Herald

Hanford contractors are looking at layoffs as they prepare to cut up to 300 jobs at the nuclear reservation by this fall.

The central Hanford contractor, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., told employees Wednesday that it was preparing to cut up to 250 jobs as some key work at the nuclear reservation is completed.

Mission Support Alliance, which provides support services across Hanford, is looking at cutting as many as 50 jobs.

CH2M now employs 1,727 workers, and Mission Support Alliance employs 1,902 workers.

Volunteers for layoffs and severance pay are being sought, but CH2M does not expect enough volunteers to meet its job reduction target without also having involuntary layoffs.

The job reductions are related to progress on two key projects at Hanford, demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant and cleanup of the 618-10 Burial Ground.

I know workforce restructuring is difficult on everyone, and I will continue providing you with the latest information as soon as it becomes available.

Ty Blackford, president of CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co.

CH2M is taking down the Plutonium Finishing Plant in central Hanford as the Department of Energy faces a legal deadline to have the massive, contaminated plant down to slab on grade by Sept. 30. Mission Support Alliance provides some support services to CH2M at the plant.

CH2M also plans to complete cleanup of the 618-10 Burial Ground just north of Richland by the end of September. It took over the work when Washington Closure Hanford’s contract expired.

In September CH2M expects to have the last of 94 vertically buried pipes filled with radioactive waste removed from the ground, two adjacent waste sites cleaned up and the last of the waste-filled trenches in the 618-10 Burial Ground cleaned up.

CH2M told its workers on Wednesday that it planned to cut jobs in three phases — at the beginning of May, the end of July and in September.

The types of jobs that would be cut during each phase had not been released on Wednesday. The jobs are expected to include both union and nonunion positions.

“I know workforce restructuring is difficult on everyone, and I will continue providing you with the latest information as soon as it becomes available,” Ty Blackford, president of CH2M for central Hanford work, said in a message to employees.

It is anticipated that the initial phase will have minimal, if any, impact on MSA employees.

Todd Beyers, Mission Support Alliance vice president of human resources

Union workers may be eligible to “bump and roll.” If they are laid off, they may be able to claim the positions of other union workers at Hanford with less seniority. The bump and roll could affect workers at Washington River Protection Solutions, even though it does not plan layoffs.

Workers who would like to be considered for the first round of reductions must apply by March 30.

Mission Support Alliance does not expect to take action until the second phase, with job cuts at the end of July. If not enough workers volunteer for layoffs, involuntary layoffs are possible then and in the third round in September.

Its job cuts all are anticipated to be positions held by employees represented by the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, an umbrella group for about 15 Hanford unions.

Workers who are laid off, either voluntarily or involuntarily, may be eligible for severance pay. Traditional Hanford severance pay is one week of pay for every year worked up to 20 years.

Contractors also will coordinate with WorkSource to make sure workers who lose their jobs have access to help to write resumes, improve interviewing skills and search for jobs.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews

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