Budget limitations mean job cuts at Y-12

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

OAK RIDGE (WVLT) Officials at the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge haven't had to make any job cuts in the past ten years.

Until now.

Just yesterday, employees were told that hundreds of jobs are now on the chopping block.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman has more on the looming cuts and what they mean to you.

Officials told me that Y-12 is leading the nuclear complex in transforming the complex into a smaller, more efficient site.

Changes at Y-12 are nothing new.

Charles Phillips is retired from the Department of Energy and worked at Y-12 and says, "the DOE plants at Oak Ridge have had a history of ups and down since I've ever known about them."

And this current down is taking up to four hundred jobs.

Phillips says, "they have layoffs and hires, layoffs and hires."

Bottom line for this round is the bottom line.

Debra Shecterle is senior vice-president and chief Human Capital officer at B&W Y-12 and says, "there are budget limitations that we're incurring that are really forcing us to look at how do we restructure our organization with the funding level that we're being given by the government."

Shecterle says they are going to be over staffed by their budget and need to reduce head count.

Shecterle says, "we thought the best way to do that was to give our employees an opportunity through this voluntary program to select to exit the business."

Shecterle outlines that of the plant's roughly forty six hundred employees, fifteen hundred are eligible to retire, and they're looking to chop up to four hundred jobs.

Meaning that one job will be saved for every four employees that volunteer to leave.

It's an option that may be tempting to those able to retire.

Phillips says, "I'm sure there's people out there that have their points where they have full retirement that could take this and get the buy-out also. That would be a prime opportunity for those people."

Especially for Y-12 long-timers.

Officials say they'll receive approximately two months of pay after ten years.

Shecterle says, "they get an additional quarter-month for every year of service after ten years."

That is, if they go.

"It is purely volunteer. It is up to them. We welcome their participation, but if they choose to stay with us then that's OK, too."

Officials say that Y-12's annual economic impact is four billion dollars.


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