AKRON -- Lockheed Martin announced the company is closing several operations throughout the United States, including the facility in Akron near the Goodyear blimp hangar.
According to Lockheed Martin, the closure will impact 500 of the 600 employees and the Akron Air Dock will remain open.
Akron officials addressed the situation in a joint press conference at 2 p.m. in the city's Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Don Plusquellic said the Lockheed operation in Akron "...was a profit center...." and that he will continue to fight to keep jobs here.
Here are Plusquellic's remarks:
"My first thought this morning was sadness for the over 500 people and their families that will be impacted by Lockheed Martin's decision to close operations in Akron. My office will work with the County to make sure that those impacted are getting all the resources and information they need during this trying time.
And, I am angry that our citizens are being affected by the irresponsible conduct of certain legislators in Washington, who cannot see that their inability to govern has very real consequences for our people, and so many others around the country.
Lockheed Martin's announcement today is not a reflection on our City, County, Region, or State, but rather an unfortunate sign of the politics and consequences of the political games played in D.C., and a direct result of the Federal Budget Sequestration. This is about what is happening in Washington with the irresponsible Tea Party legislators who think their game-playing has no consequences.
This was never an issue about competition; never about what Akron can offer versus what another location can offer. The City, the County, the State of Ohio, and the Akron Chamber… we have all done everything possible to make sure Lockheed is on solid ground in Akron. We worked diligently with Lockheed, not just in the past month since it was announced they may shut down, but for many, many years. And, we have consistently and repeatedly extended to Lockheed every possible measure of support that we can.
In fact, Lockheed's Akron facility was planning an expansion and was in the process of hiring when recent rumors of its closing started popping up. I know this is little comfort to the 500 families affected and it does not compensate for the loss, but if the closure happens, we will work to make sure these industrial and manufacturing sites are put to the best use possible with viable companies that will provide job opportunities for our residents."
Plusquellic said U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown "...aren't giving up..." but that he "...hadn't heard from U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci..."
Both Fudge and Renacci released statements during the press conference.
"Upon hearing the initial reports of Lockheed's possible consolidation plan last month, we immediately contacted the company to demand an explanation and to express our grave concern.
We monitored the situation closely and worked with other members of the Ohio delegation to ensure that Lockheed maintains its current presence in Northeast Ohio.
"Today, I was deeply troubled to learn of Lockheed Martin's decision to close its facility in Akron, OH. Following Lockheed's notification to our office this morning, I immediately spoke with a top official from Lockheed in an effort to find a solution that would keep the Akron facility's doors open and preserve the jobs that will be impacted. Based on our conversation, the closure is part of Lockheed's consolidation plan that started in 2009. I am, however, encouraged to know that they will maintain the Akron Air Dock and 50-60 jobs. I stressed to Lockheed the importance of making the transition for all affected employees as smooth as possible, including providing separation pay and other benefits, and offered our assistance as they work with government agencies to achieve this.
"We will continue to meet with company leadership and employees to assist them during this extraordinarily difficult time, and I remain committed to enacting solutions that will spur economic growth and make it easier for our small businesses to create the jobs that we so desperately need. I encourage those who are affected by the facility closure to use my office as a resource, and know that my thoughts and prayers are with them and their families."
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge issued the following statement regarding a decision by Lockheed Martin, Inc. to proceed with a consolidation plan and relocate 500 jobs in Akron to other states.
"I am very disappointed with the announcement by Lockheed Martin to close the facility that has been a part of Akron for many years, especially since most of their business is based on work for the federal government. I personally conveyed my disappointment in a phone call today with Dale Bennett, Lockheed Executive Vice-President for the Mission Systems and Training Business Area . I had urged the company to reconsider, given the important work conducted in Akron and the highly competitive, skilled workforce that Lockheed Martin was able to attract and retain here in Ohio. The loss of 500 jobs is a devastating economic blow to Summit County and the entire Northeast Ohio region," said Congresswoman Fudge.
"I understand that sequestration has been a major issue for defense contractors and others across this country, but most of them have not taken drastic measures to uproot their workforce and eliminate thousands of jobs. The sequester is causing real, ongoing damage for the people of my district and throughout the country and that is why I have repeatedly urged an end to this destructive policy."
"My office also stands ready to work with the Akron community and Lockheed Martin to help ensure an orderly transition for the impacted employees."
The company says the closures and consolidation efforts are being made to increase the efficiency of its operations and improve the affordability of its products and services.
"These actions are in response to continued declines in U.S. government spending," a press release from Lockheed Martin declares.
By mid-2015, Lockheed will cease and close operations at the following locations: Akron, Ohio; Goodyear, Ariz.; Horizon City, Texas; and four buildings in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The facility closures will result in the elimination of 2,000 positions and ongoing operational efficiency initiatives will result in the elimination of an additional 2,000 positions in the Corporation's Information Systems & Global Solutions, Mission System and Training and Space Systems business areas by the end of 2014.
The cuts involve approximately 3.5 percent of the company's workforce. Affected employees will receive job placement assistance and severance benefits to assist their transition.
As part of the consolidation, all program work and some employees will transition to other Lockheed Martin facilities, creating operational efficiencies and reducing costs. Space Systems and IS&GS will transition work to its Denver, Colo. and Valley Forge, Pa. facilities.
The company is reviewing potential sites to transition the Mission System Training work, including its facilities in Owego, N.Y. and Orlando, Fla., and expects to finalize plans in early 2014.
"Reducing our workforce of dedicated employees and closing facilities are among the most difficult decisions we make," says Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Officer and President. "In the face of government budget cuts and an increasingly complex global security landscape, these actions are necessary for the future of our business and will position Lockheed Martin to better serve our customers."
Since 2008, Lockheed Martin has reduced overhead costs, cut capital expenses, removed 1.5 million square feet of facility space and reduced its workforce from 146,000 employees to 116,000.
The new closures announced Thursday will further reduce the company's operational footprint by nearly 2.5 million square feet of facility space and lower overhead costs.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
The corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion