Sikorsky announced Tuesday that it will eliminating 1,400 jobs globally in its production workforce over the next year, including in Connecticut, where it will be closing its Bridgeport location.
About 180 of the 8,000 people Sikorsky currently employs in Connecticut will be impacted, he said. Workers at the Bridgeport location aren't losing their jobs and are being offered positions at the Stratford facility.
Sikorsky informed its employees of the news on Tuesday, stating that the workforce reductions will include "a mix of employees and contractors," according to Sikorsky spokesperson Paul Jackson.
"These actions affect Sikorsky’s facilities in Poland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut and will take place over the next twelve months starting immediately," Jackson said. "As part of this activity, the company will vacate smaller satellite facilities and consolidate remaining production volume into larger campuses in Poland, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to include exiting its current facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and relocating employees to the Stratford, Connecticut facility. It is important to note that none of these announced layoffs are a result of the facility consolidation."
The layoffs come as the company says there are "sustained decreases in oil prices" that are causing "significant declines in capital investments by oil companies in offshore oil exploration projects impacting Sikorsky and resulting in reduced production levels," Jackson said. Also, there has been less of a demand for "certain international military products" at Sikorsky, he said.
Bridgeport employees manufacture parts for helicopters and will be transferred to the Stratford location.
“It’s a significant change. Sikorsky has been a part of the South End of Bridgeport for 60, 70 years," Paul Timpanelli, president and CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, said. “We frankly we’re not surprised. We’ve sort of suspected this for a while. We know the changes the company is going through, consolidation the company is going through.”
This is one of several consolidations the company announced.
The company said in a statement that it "will work closely with the impacted employees to ease the transition, and with all our employees, customers and suppliers to ensure continued delivery on all our business commitments."
As for Bridgeport, business leaders and the mayor are confident the facility can be filled quickly with another manufacturing business as part of the development of the city's Eco-Technology Park.
"One of the things this provides us is an opportunity that we currently don’t have which is clean, available, usable, ready to use factory space," Timpanelli said.
Bridgeport city officials and the business council are holding a meeting Wednesday night to brainstorm ways to attract new business to the city. Sikorsky still owns the building and will continue to pay taxes on it, according to the mayor's office.