United Technologies Corp.is warning that it will initiate worker layoffs as early as next week if the shutdown of the U.S. government continues. The defense giant used the term “furlough” to describe the workforce adjustments it will take to deal with the fact that Defense Contract Management Agency inspectors will be unavailable to audit and approve its production activities.
“Without the required DCMA inspectors, who were deemed non-essential federal employees, certain defense manufacturing work must be halted, which will result in employee furloughs,” United Technologies stated.
Many defense contractors are already feeling the strain of federal programs cuts due to the automatic cuts in spending, the so-called “sequestration” process.
The first furloughs could begin on Monday, October 7, for workers at three United Technologies' Sikorsky Aircraft plants. The plants in Stratford, Conn., West Palm Beach, Fla., and Troy, Ala., manufacture the Black Hawk helicopter.
If the government shutdown continues through next week, United Technologies said another 2,000 workers would be furloughed at its Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems subsidiaries.
The total may exceed 5,000 workers furloughed if the federal inspectors have not returned by November.