Boeing Takes Off From Oak Ridge, BWXT Takes Over

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Oak Ridge, Anderson County (WVLT) – After 26 years of operating out of Oak Ridge, the Boeing Corporation is taking off they are leaving Anderson County. But also with the pullout comes the layoffs of dozens of workers by the end of the year.

Even though the loss of jobs is heartbreaking, there seems to be a silver lining through it all.

Big Ed's Pizza has been a staple of Oak Ridgers for 37 years. It relies heavily on the husbands, wives and children of many corporations and government run businesses.

One of those is Boeing. For 26 years, they've built what is called gas centrifuge parts in Oak Ridge for a uranium enrichment plant in Ohio.
Now Boeing is pulling out, also leaving 265 East Tennesseans without a job.

In a statement, the corporation said: "The decision to end parts production operations was made because the facility no longer has sufficient commercial airplanes or other parts production work to remain in operation."

The operation will be turned over to USEC Incorporated, joined by a new company called BWXT/Clinch River. Union reps say despite the job losses, Boeing has stepped up.

"We worked on effects bargaining, and they went beyond what the contract had specified. They have actually treated the union people with some dignity," union representative Michael Minor said.

Minor says they're also offering jobs in other states to those laid off.
Despite the losses, some folks predict the overall outcome will still be positive.

"I think we will loose some good folks at beginning, so that's an impact that I do believe there will be some people coming from USEC who are good people too. So I think there'll be a shift in some of the folks, but other than that, it won't be negligible," mayor Tom Beehan said.

At Big Ed's Pizza, it's work as usual.

"And from what I've seen over the past how many years is that Anderson Countians tend to take care of their own, and people if they lose one, they gain another," Big Ed's owner David Neusel said.

An executive with BWXT told says they will begin interviewing those laid off. They will start with hiring 100 employees, then work their way to possibly 400 within 18 months. With the new takeover of the facility, officials are hoping to hire even more employees in the coming years.

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