Textron Lays off 200 From Slidell Military Plants

SLIDELL (AP) — Textron plans to lay off about 200 workers from its two Slidell armored vehicle plants, saying it's temporarily shutting down production.

         WVUE-TV’s Rob Masson reports workers were told earlier this month that they would be laid off effective Nov. 3.

         Company spokesman Tom Williams said Textron, an industrial conglomerate based in Providence, Rhode Island, is re-planning vehicle production and looks to restart production sometime within the next year.

         "It is our hope that some of the affected workers will be able to obtain employment with the company again," Williams said in a statement.

         But workers said they were fired permanently.

         "They told us that the layoff would be temporary … a temporary shutdown, but not a temporary layoff," said welder Michael Siller.

         American forces have a surplus of mine-resistant armored patrol vehicles as they draw down overseas.

         Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan said the city is monitoring the health of what had been one of its largest employers.

         "Textron's very important to the city," Drennan said. "We were told this was a temporary situation, and we hope that will be the case."

         The Louisiana Workforce Commission will hold a job fair Oct. 23 at one of the two Slidell plants.

         Textron is gearing up to build unmanned boats and a new generation of hovercraft for the U.S. Navy at its shipyard in eastern New Orleans, and plans to hire workers there.

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