Monday, April 18, 2011

Shuttle workers get pink slips ...

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA’s prime space shuttle contractor, United Space Alliance, told employees April 15 that half of them will need to find other jobs this summer.

The official notification was long expected, as the shutdown of the 30-year-old shuttle program has been under way for several years.

“We’re starting the process,” USA spokeswoman Kari Fluegel says. “We’ll take self-nominations [for layoffs] first, then determine who else needs to go.”

The company, which has been whittling down its workforce over the past year, currently employs about 5,600 people under the shuttle processing contract in Florida, Texas and Alabama. Up to 2,800 will be laid off this summer, after completion of two final shuttle missions. The cutback will affect 1,850-1,950 employees in Florida, 750-800 in Texas and 30-40 in Alabama.

“We are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible for them,” USA President and Chief Executive Virginia Barnes said. “Though USA will be a significantly smaller company after the space shuttle program is completed, we are optimistic about our future.”

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