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Layoffs Planned at Firm That Services Plant 42

Maintenance crews, security guards and firefighters will be among the 100 people to be laid off this month from aerospace manufacturing hub Plant 42 in Palmdale, the result of the Department of Defense wanting to in-source those positions. The workers are contracted through Pyramid Service Inc., which has provided security, maintenance, telecommunications, engineering and firefighting services at Plant 42 for nine years, according to the company website. A representative of Pyramid at the corporate headquarters in North Carolina had no comment on the layoffs but the company’s website said the contract to provide services in Palmdale expired in June 2010. The Defense Department, however, had an option to extend the contract until January 2011 when the contracted employees would be replaced by government workers. In 2009, the Pentagon announced the elimination of 33,000 service support contractors by 2015 and replace them over the next five years with new full-time government employees. The 100 workers being let go in January were notified through the required Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification. That number includes 55 firefighters who provide around-the-clock protection for the buildings and land. Plant 42 is owned by the U.S. Air Force and home to major aerospace and defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing Co. The facility has two 12,000-foot runways, and base and contractor buildings on 5,800 acres. For more than 50 years, the private sector has supplied firefighting operations at Plant 42 and the change has drawn the attention of some federal lawmakers, including Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, whose district includes Palmdale. In an interview in April with Government Executive magazine, McKeon said he found the loss of the contracted firefighting positions “troubling.” “It ends a 50-year tradition of cooperation and potentially raises costs for training and new equipment,” McKeon told the publication.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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