Secret City On Edge Over Budget

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Oak Ridge (WVLT) -- Jobs are on the line in East Tennessee, as the future of some Y-12 employees rests in the hands of congress.

About 4,500 employees at Y-12 were told Tuesday about a workforce restructuring plan that may include job reductions and layoffs if congress doesn't approve the plant's fiscal budget.

In the “Secret City,” not knowing if the workers have a job tomorrow is a scary thought for everyone.

"We're dealing with people's lives here and we're dealing with a critical mission," said Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan. “The money can be there and we've been talking to the Tennessee delegation in D.C. This is because they haven't passed a budget."

Without that budget, Y-12 was required to issue a workforce draft plan to all of its employees.

"The purpose of that plan is to help mitigate the impacts of a potential reduction on the communities and employees," said Steven Wyatt, a Y-12 Spokesman.

It is basically a warning that keeps Y-12’s 4,500 workers in the loop and leaves no room for surprises down the road.

"Anytime you face a potential reduction, there is concern and always will be,” said Wyatt. “We've had situations like this in the past. Hopefully this will be resolved, but at this point we still face some uncertainty."

"The part I don't like is the uncertainty to the families and the people that work there," said Mayor Beehan

Y-12 spokesman Steven Wyatt says it's too early to tell if or when the layoffs could take place and how many employees would be impacted.

"We hope this isn't necessary and hopefully that won't come to pass,” Wyatt said.

That's only if congress decides to pass the new budget.

“I have the up most confidence that ultimately nobody will be laid off,” the mayor said.

Mayor Beehan also has a message for Congress.

"Let's come together,” he said. “Be bipartisan, do the right thing for this community. Pass this budget and let us get on with the job we do here in Oak Ridge."

We'll continue to follow the situation and bring you any updates as they develop.

You can read the detailed draft plan for the Y-12 workers by clicking on the attacked link.


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