Shutdown Prompts Aerospace to Furlough More than Half Its Workforce

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WASHINGTON — The Aerospace Corp., the federally funded not-for-profit research center that provides engineering advice on U.S. Air Force space programs, furloughed more than 2,000 workers as the result of a government shutdown, according to an Oct. 7 press release.

The work stoppages began Oct. 3.

Workers involved in mission-critical tasks — such as near-term activities in launch operations and support, resolution of on-orbit anomalies, and execution of ongoing satellite flight operations — were exempt from the furlough. 

Aerospace, based in El Segundo, Calif.,  has nearly 3,500 employees. 

“In the face of this challenge, Aerospace will continue to serve our customers by performing valuable work,” Wanda Austin, Aerospace’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin Corp. announced Oct. 7 it was reducing the number of employees it would furlough this week to 2,400 from 3,000. The company announced the 3,000 number Oct. 4, but over the weekend Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered civilian Pentagon employees back to work.

“The Department of Defense’s decision will not eliminate the impact of the government shutdown on the company’s employees and the business,” the Lockheed Martin release said. “The company will still have approximately 2,400 employees unable to work because the civil government facility where they perform their work is closed, or we’ve received a stop-work order on their Defense Department or civil government program.”

About 2,100 of the employees work on civilian agency programs and 300 work on the Defense Department programs, the release said.