Leader Assistant Editor
Employees at Box Elder County’s largest employer are not only concerned about the next round of scheduled layoffs to take place in May, they are now fearing they could be much larger than originally anticipated.
ATK officials announced last year the need to lay off up to 800 employees in January and May. Approximately 450 of those took place a few weeks ago, while the remaining 300 or so will be coming in a few months. But thanks to a proposal in U.S. President Barack Obama’s budget to cancel NASA’s Constellation program, which encompasses the Ares rocket programs, some employees at ATK fear the number of job losses ATK experiences could be much higher than that.
“This is disheartening news for Utah and the country as a whole,” said Utah Representative Rob Bishop in a release. “Cutting funding for space exploration will put the United States light years behind in vital science and technology advancements. If the President truly wants the U.S. to be a dominant world leader as he stated during his State of the Union address, the Ares 1 project must continue as planned.”
ATK has been at the heart of the development of the Ares I launch vehicle over recent years. One employee at ATK, who spoke with the Leader on a condition of anonymity, said the cancellation of the program could result in up to 1,200 jobs lost at the Promontory facility alone.
“NASA is the big bread and butter contract that ATK has,” the employee said. “If there is no other contract in the works, ATK won’t have anything to work with. People who are working with the space programs are really scared.”
For more on this story, pick up a copy of this week’s Leader.