1,200 Westinghouse jobs lost after A-12's demise


War or no war, more than 1,200 local Westinghouse workers got word yesterday that they were losing their jobs as the result of a recent Pentagon decision to cancel the Navy's A-12 attack-aircraft program.

The Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group was under contract to supply the main radar units and an infrared system for the A-12, a replacement for the vintage A-6 Intruders that are making bombing runs on targets in Iraq and Kuwait.

Combined with 200 layoffs at the Amecom division of Litton Systems Inc. in College Park, the state has lost more than 1,400 jobs as a result of the A-12's demise.

Shortly after lunch yesterday, Westinghouse supervisors began calling individual employees into their offices to give them letters from Richard A. Linder, president of the Electronic Systems Group, explaining the layoffs and telling them they were among those to go.

Jack Martin, a company spokesman, said 750 were furloughed at the company's main complex at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and 450 at the company's operation in Hunt Valley. The layoffs are effective Feb. 28.

L "We're considering them permanent layoffs," Mr. Martin said.

He said the layoffs are "across the board," affect engineers, technicians, clerical workers, management officials and non-exempt salaried workers among the company's 16,000 employees in Maryland.

"I worked with some ladies who have been here 26 years, and they'regone," said George Dohner, an engineering technician who has worked at BWI for 10 years and kept his job because 49 others had less seniority in his classification.

The atmosphere in his lab, he said, is "pretty blue. A lot of people left as soon as they got their notice."

Mike Buczkowski, a drafting photographer who has worked at Westinghouse for six years, said he was given the option of working another two weeks and collecting pay through the end of the month but decided to leave immediately.

"I told my boss if I'm getting paid to the 28th I can't see any point in hanging around another two weeks for nothing," he said.

Mr. Buczkowski, who lives in East Baltimore with his wife and two children, said he could earn money as a wedding photographer, "but for a while, we're going to have to cut down on some stuff around here."

"It's going to be tight," agreed George Crosby, a 56-year-old engineer who has worked for Westinghouse for 33 years. "We're going to have to figure out how to stretch the budget."

Still, he said, "Westinghouse is being good to me. They've given me severance pay, and my benefits program can be extended."

One frustrated employee, who asked that her name not be used, said that Congress "had no business canceling the A-12 program."

Full production run of A-12 planes probably would have resulted in more than $3 billion in new business for Westinghouse, and work would have continued into the next century.

Amecom, which has about 1,000 employees, was to develop electronic equipment to detect enemy planes and missiles.

John Georg, a company spokesman, said yesterday that Amecom's layoffs have been taking place over three weeks, with the last workers being notified Thursday.

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