SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - One of the largest employers in the Coastal Empire laid off hundreds of people.
Gulfstream confirmed to WTOC the company cut its workforce by about 3.5 percent, that’s 446 positions. Those cuts were made at their 11 sites in the United States and not just in Savannah.
Gulfstream says the reductions primarily affected business-support and administrative functions. Direct labor such as manufacturing and maintenance was largely unaffected.
WTOC obtained a copy of a letter that Gulfstream sent to the Georgia Department of Labor about the layoffs.
The letter sent on Tuesday says in Savannah, Gulfstream began permanent layoffs for as many as 362 people. And it says those layoffs will stretch over a seven-day period. Tuesday also is the same day the letter was sent to the Department of Labor.
It’s worth noting that under federal law the layoffs by Gulfstream are not considered “mass layoffs.” But Gulfstream decided to notify the Department of Labor anyway, as a courtesy, so the department could help those affected. The letter also mentions that Gulfstream offered separation benefits to those laid off.
Below is a statement from Gulfstream when asked about the layoffs:
"As part of Gulfstream’s normal, disciplined business practices, we routinely evaluate our costs, capabilities and workforce requirements. And sometimes, when we expand in one area, we have an offsetting contraction in another. In the past 10 years, Gulfstream has grown considerably, more than doubling its workforce. In order to ensure Gulfstream’s continued long-term success, we must consistently evaluate the size and structure of the business and adjust accordingly. We will continue to hire and add resources in areas aligned with our strategic growth plan, while judiciously consolidating, integrating and streamlining resources that no longer align with that plan.
We regret the impact these decisions have on our employees."
The last time Gulfstream had a large layoff was in December 2015. Back then, it affected 349 jobs in the Coastal Georgia area, according to the information posted on the Georgia Department of Labor.
Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach spoke to WTOC about the layoffs.
"They talked to me at length about it, and said they were going to have to do some of those job layoffs due to the fact that the areas they were pushing heavier into, some of the folks that they had on staff were not in management positions and different ones, didn’t fit the criteria in that area. You know, it’s going to be another two to three years, and the same people might be working there. This is not the first time it’s happened, and it won’t be the last time,” he said.