WASHINGTON — Defense giant Lockheed Martin said Monday it would reduce its planned layoffs to 2,400, after the Pentagon recalled most civilian workers it had furloughed because of the partial federal government shutdown.
The move came after United Technologies said Sunday it was canceling the planned layoff of 2,000 employees at its Sikorsky Aircraft unit because of the return of the Defense Department workers.
Lockheed had announced Friday it would lay off 3,000 employees starting Monday due to the shutdown. About 400,000 civilian Defense Department workers were furloughed last week amid a budget stalemate in Washington that left many parts of the government without funding.
But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday he was recalling most of those furloughed civilian workers after Pentagon and Justice Department officials decided those employees provided crucial support services for military-service members, who remain on duty.
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Those civilian workers include inspectors for military equipment, whose return, United Technologies said, allowed the company to cancel planned layoffs this week. Sikorsky makes Blackhawk and other military helicopters.
Boeing, the No. 2 federal contractor, hasn’t ruled out sending employees home.
It said last week it may begin “limited furloughs” this week. While the return of most Pentagon civilian employees has “at least delayed the need for furloughs at some Boeing facilities,” the shutdown may still lead to furloughs, Meghan McCormick, a company spokeswoman said Monday.
The return of most civilian Defense Department workers has less effect on Lockheed, whose employees also work on civilian government-agency programs. But the Pentagon change allowed Lockheed to reduce its planned layoffs by 600, the company said.
“The Department of Defense’s decision will not eliminate the impact of the government shutdown on the company’s employees and the business,” Lockheed said.
“The company will still have approximately 2,400 employees unable to work because the civil government facility where they perform their work is closed, or we’ve received a stop-work order on their (Defense Department) or civil government program.”
The Lockheed layoffs affect employees in 27 states, with the majority in the Washington, D.C., area. Of the 2,400 employees being laid off, 2,100 work on civilian agency programs and 300 work on Defense Department programs, the company said.
Lockheed has about 116,000 employees, with all but 6,000 in the U.S. The company said it hoped the budget stalemate was resolved soon.
“We continue to urge Congress and the administration to come to an agreement that funds the government as soon as possible,” Lockheed said Monday.