– 400 Other Positions Must Be Eliminated –
In a state already struggling with unemployment higher than the dismal national average, Robins Air Force Base (RAFB) has provided more bad news. On November 2nd, it was announced that RAFB would lose 600 jobs. This economy has not been kind to Middle Georgia and the job losses at RAFB will likely have a ripple effect throughout the area.
The Macon Telegraph reports that 200 employees of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WRALC) have accepted offers for early retirement. The hope was that enough workers would accept the payoff so that there would be no involuntary separations.
Each worker who accepts the offer would get approximately $25,000 to either retire or resign, with the amount dependent upon several factors such as tenure. The 200 responses are far less than anticipated by management, with the low number probably dictated by the current high unemployment rate and the reduced chance of obtaining work elsewhere. While there may be other late acceptances of the offer, it appears fairly certain that the number will not be as high as hoped.
The announcement that Robins Air Force Base must reduce its approximately 23,000 employees by 600 caught many by surprise. With the current budget impasse and another possible round of Base Realignment and Closure Committee recommendations upcoming, employees are concerned. The Macon Telegraph story continues:
Many of the targeted positions are related to an Air Force Materiel Command reorganization initiative, also announced last week, to consolidate command of the three air logistics centers at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center command staff and the Aerospace Sustainment Center staff are being eliminated. The same changes are being made at all three logistics centers.
While many people are discussing the loss of jobs, with more potentially to follow if the Congressional “Super Committee” can’t resolve budget issues, a more important issue is that Robins AFB has lost its designation as an Air Logistics Center. This gives RAFB less of a say in future reductions in force.
RAFB is also home to the 78th Force Support Squadron, 402nd Maintenance Wing, 78th Air Base Wing, 542nd Combat Sustainment Wing, 330th Aircraft Sustainment Wing and the Aerospace Sustainment Directorate. RAFB is the largest single industrial complex in the state of Georgia and widely recognized as the largest economic engine in Middle Georgia.