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What Happened to Saving JOBS??

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Via(The Boston Globe)

US weapons cuts could put N.E. jobs in jeopardy

WASHINGTON – Defense contractors, high-tech firms, and manufacturing plants are bracing for thousands of potential layoffs across New England resulting from the Obama administration’s plans to cancel or delay key weapons programs, according to company officials, union representatives, and members of Congress.

A metal works plant in North Grafton, Mass., that shapes titanium for use in the Air Force’s F-22 fighter jet stands to lose as much as one-fifth of its workforce if production is halted, while more than 2,000 jobs could be lost at divisions of United Technologies in Connecticut that build the jet’s engine and electrical power systems, officials say.

More than 2,000 employees at Raytheon Co. facilities in Tewksbury, Andover, and Portsmouth, R.I., are working on the combat and radar systems for the Navy’s Zumwalt class destroyer, another program widely expected to be cut. Many workers could lose their jobs or be transferred out of the area if construction of the warship is halted, according to the officials.

And firms large and small – including General Dynamics in Taunton and iRobot in Bedford – are keeping a close eye on the fate of the Army’s set of next-generation ground combat vehicles, which rely on a host of computer systems and communications developed in the Bay State, but are also on the chopping block.

“All the major programs that are being discussed would have a Massachusetts or New England impact,” said a Senate aide who is tracking the budget deliberations to gauge how they might effect the region’s economy, which is already struggling in the deepening recession.

The Obama administration is about to unveil a Pentagon spending plan that officials say will slash weapons programs identified as either too costly or not meeting the urgent needs of the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates stayed behind in Washington, even with President Obama attending a NATO summit starting today in France, to iron out the final details of what he calls a “strategic reshaping” of the Pentagon’s investment strategy.

Gates’s office has said that jobs will not be a factor in the Defense Department’s deliberations.

“It’s not the responsibility of this building to worry about the economic impact of budgetary decisions,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters recently. “It’s the responsibility of the secretary and this building to provide recommendations to the president about what’s in the best interest of our national security.”

But the economic impact of the cuts – especially at a time when the job market is already under strain – is clearly on the minds of company executives, workers, and their elected representatives in Washington. Yesterday, the Labor Department reported initial claims for unemployment insurance rose last week to 669,000 nationwide, the most in more than 26 years.

Continued…

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie
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