Gulfstream Aerospace fired potentially dozens of employees from its Brunswick plant and even more from the Savannah headquarters due to COVID-19.
“(Employees) were informed initially on May 1 of the layoffs, and then anyone who was not called back was informed on the 15th,” Heidi Fedak, director of corporate communications for Gulf Stream’s Savannah office. “We did provide severance to the employees and benefits extensions based on years of service.”
Fedak wouldn’t say exactly how many had been fired at the Brunswick plant, but 650 people were fired between the two locations. At the end of March, 324 people were employed at the Brunswick plant including contractors. In Savannah, 10,680 were employed at the end of March.
“I would say, proportionally, more were lost from Savannah,” Fedak said.
The layoffs are another cost-cutting measure the company is employing, and not the first, Fedak said. The company has downsized other locations and closed its Las Vegas service center.
Supply chain problems outside the company’s control means it will be producing fewer planes, she said. At some point, the company had to start balancing its “business needs” with its “workforce needs.”
“We had planned originally to deliver more than 150, and now it will be more along the lines of 125 to 130,” Fedak said.
At what point the company plans to start hiring again is unknown.
“That’s difficult to predict. We continue to evaluate our workforce needs to make sure they’re balanced with our business needs, but anything else I said would be speculation,” Fedak said.
While it attempts to cut costs to stay in the black, Gulfstream also had to adapt to social distancing of employees and higher demand for cleaning, Fedak said. The company also hired an epidemiologist to handle its response the virus.
“Obviously, it’s difficult for us to make these kinds of decisions, but these are challenging and unprecedented times and we have to take steps to ensure the stability of the business,” Fedak said.