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Northrop cutting workers at Virginia shipyard

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. said today it is cutting 380 salaried jobs at its Newport News shipbuilding facility, citing a need to control costs.

The company that builds submarines and aircraft carriers for the Navy said the reduction of about 2 percent of its 20,000 workers at the shipyard was necessary to improve efficiency and costs.

“While this is a very difficult decision, it is a critical and necessary step in order to control costs, effectively manage overhead, improve efficiency and lower the acquisition costs of our products to better secure the future of our shipyard,” Matt Mulherin, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News said in a news release.

Northrop Grumman said the cuts are driven, in part, by the completion of major milestones on existing contracts. For example, the company said it is nearing the completion of the design of the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.

The announcement marks the first reduction its Newport News facility has experienced in more than a decade.

In October, the company said it was exploring “various alternatives for the potential separation of its shipbuilding business, including a spinoff or sale of the unit.”

Northrop Grumman had previously announced plans in July to shutter the Avondale shipyard near New Orleans in early 2013 and consolidate its Gulf Coast military shipbuilding at Pascagoula. About 4,600 people now work at Avondale.

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