Company Official: 150 Civilian Jobs Leaving Fort Drum

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A military contractor will be losing 150 jobs based at Fort Drum because of "reduced need," according to a company official.

The DynCorp International official, Ashley Burke, said in an email to 7 News "the reduced need from our customer unfortunately impacts approximately 150 personnel..."

Burke's comments appeared to be the definitive answer that the cuts are certain.

Earlier, a local DynCorp official suggested the cuts were likely, but not a sure thing, and were tied to the process of budget 'sequestration' playing out now in Washington.

Budget sequestration is the cutting of hundreds of billions of dollars from the Department of Defense budget that is due to take place starting March 1.

Burke's comments are in agreement with comments from a union oifficial - and with emails received by 7 News - who said the company had presented the layoffs Friday as definitely occuring.

Affected would be people who work on what's called the RESET program. That's where Blackhawk helicopters coming back from overseas get taken apart, fixed up and put back together.

Brian Gagnon is president of the Local Lodge 2920 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

He said employees of DynCorp International were informed by company officials Friday that the cuts would start in April.

The loss will be gradual, but the workforce is expected to drop from 220 to 70 people by mid-summer.

Gagnon said the work is moving to Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

Gagnon said the loss of jobs is important, but no one seems to be doing anything about it.

"Right now all I hear talk about is immigration. And this is so real of people losing so many jobs, I mean this is country-wide. This isn't just Fort Drum."

"I really don't know much about politics," he said, "but I will say that there are real people and real lives and a lot of things at stake."

He described the jobs as "good paying." He said the workers are highly skilled, but those skills are specialized, and the workers may find it difficult to find comparable jobs locally.

In the email, Burke notes "We look forward to continuing to provide other support activities at Fort Drum, including the maintenance and modification of aircraft."  

 

 

Friday, April 18, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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