BATH — Bath Iron Works will temporarily lay off 191 workers from its largest union until more work is available, the shipyard announced last week.

The layoffs will affect nine trades among members of Local S6: crane operators, stage builders, pipefitters, tinsmiths, electricians, insulators, preservation technicians, shipfitters and yard riggers. Their last day of work is Nov. 13.

BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini blamed the layoffs on the slower-than-expected transition from building the DDG 51 fleet of vessels to the DDG 1000 line.

“The Navy’s decision to construct all DDG 1000 ships at BIW included shifting responsibility for developing some design products for those areas of the ship that will now be built in Bath from Northrop Grumman to BIW,” DeMartini explained in an e-mail. “This transfer of additional work and the subsequent completion of the design and its release to manufacturing for construction has proceeded at a slower than anticipated rate. This situation is necessitating these layoffs. We have already initiated steps to increase the rate of release and we’ll continue to work with Local S6 leadership to minimize the actual number of people who will be laid off.”

DeMartini could not give a specific date for when the workers would be recalled, but noted that the layoffs are considered temporary since BIW expects production activities to increase early next year.

“We will need these personnel to build DDG 1000,” he said.

BIW plans to deliver the first of three DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy in 2013.

DeMartini said balancing workload with the people needed to accomplish that work requires constant monitoring of a multitude of variables. He said he could not speculate on the potential for future layoffs.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or [email protected].

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