Fort Stewart’s contract with Lockheed Martin ends in less than 60 days. Although the contract may be renewed, the company was required by law Wednesday to notify 177 employees their jobs may end by the end of January 2013, according to Chris Crawford with U.S. Congressman Jack Kingston’s office.
“This is a preliminary step required by law,” Crawford said. “These employees could lose their jobs, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to lose their jobs. The Army is expected to make a decision about the contract by mid-December.”
Crawford said that if Lockheed’s contract is renewed, these employees would keep their jobs. However, even if the contract goes to another company, he expects most of the employees to keep their jobs, saying the same services still will be needed. It only makes sense to keep the people already trained to provide those services, he said.
Crawford emphasized that the pending threat of sequestration is not a factor regarding the contract.
“This has nothing to do with sequestration,” he said. “Lockheed’s contract term has come up. That’s all. Before awarding a new contract, the Army has to make sure it’s getting the best possible contractor.”
Crawford added that defense contractors who are affected by sequestration were supposed to give notice to their employees at the first of November, but these contractors were given a waiver by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. The waiver exempted them from the requirement to notify employees of a possible layoff, he said.
Sequestration puts 7,000 Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield contractor jobs at risk, Crawford said. He didn’t know if the waiver was politically motivated, but noted it was given just before the election. He added the “trickle effect of uncertainty” already was having an adverse effect on contractors.
“(Government contractors) are not going to hire more employees with their contracts subject to end (Jan. 1),” he said. “And potential (high-tech) employees like engineers aren’t going to look at government contractor jobs with so much uncertainty.”
Read more in the Dec. 1 edition of the News.