SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Nearly 700 employees are part of a layoff at Gulfstream Aerospace, one of the largest employers in Savannah.
The company notified the Georgia Department of Labor about the layoffs on May 1 under what’s known as the WARN Act. In a public listing that appeared Monday morning, the company reported 699 employees are affected at its Savannah facility.
The Department of Labor has a list on its website of all the business layoffs and closures so far this year, as required by the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. In the past two months, 16 businesses in Chatham County have reported layoffs, but none as big as Gulfstream’s last Friday. To date, it’s the largest layoff in the state this year.
An economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic is the reason the workforce reduction, according to an undated company letter released Monday by the Georgia Department of Labor.
“We are experiencing a direct impact as a result of COVID-19 as a global business in our operations as well as through suppliers, including the significant impact of a government ordered temporary closure of a key manufacturing location,” wrote Timothy R, Maguire, deputy general counsel & ethics officer with Gulfstream Aerospace.
“These sudden and unexpected circumstances adversely affected our business operations and prevented us from providing notice sooner," Maguire said, in the letter.
WTOC began receiving calls on Thursday and requested a response from the company then, and again on Friday.
Gulfstream released a statement on Monday:
"The coronavirus crisis has impacted Gulfstream’s business operations. Because of these ongoing challenges, we have decreased our projected deliveries for 2020. We also implemented several cost-cutting measures across the business to address the challenges caused by this pandemic.
Unfortunately, those measures alone were not sufficient to overcome this significant impact, requiring us to take additional steps to balance the size and structure of the business with current conditions. As a result, we recently made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce at multiple locations across our company.
These are challenging and unprecedented times that require us to make difficult decisions to ensure the long-term health of the business. We sincerely regret the impact these actions will have on our colleagues and their families. Depending on individual eligibility criteria, those colleagues affected may receive benefits that include severance and benefits extensions."
Gulfstream last reported a layoff to the state on Oct. 15 when it reported 362 employees were affected.