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Exelis to cut 60 more jobs at Roanoke County night vision plant

Exelis to cut 60 more jobs at Roanoke County night vision plant

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Exelis continues to cut jobs at its night vision facility in Roanoke County, and the latest bad news will affect about 60 salaried employees.

Tim White, a spokesman for Exelis, said employees learned last week about the job reduction, which will eliminate about a quarter of the plant’s salaried staff.

This latest round of staff cuts will take total employment at the facility off Plantation Road to about 425 people, including both hourly and salaried workers. Employment at the site, formerly ITT Night Vision, peaked in 2009 at about 1,525 people.

White has said that the reduced involvement of U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has cut demand for Exelis’ high-tech night vision gear and that ongoing employment reductions reflect that drop in business.

He said the company, which is based in McLean, has asked for eligible volunteers among the 60 salaried employees potentially affected by the cuts to consider taking retirement.

The job cuts will take effect by the end of July, and people losing employment will be offered severance packages and professional outplacement services, White said.

In November 2011, Exelis spun off from ITT and became a separate publicly traded company. Exelis describes itself as a “global aerospace, defense, information and services company” and reports that it generated sales in 2013 of $4.8 billion.

Hourly workers at the plant are represented by IUE-CWA Local 82162. White has said the average hourly wage for a union member at the Exelis facility is about $21.50.

White said Exelis is “continuing to adjust to the new market right now” and also “continuing to work very hard to bring in new business.”

The company has reported it has been working with NIRF Imaging, a Texas-based private company, to adapt Exelis’ image intensification technology to create a new noninvasive way to create images of the human body’s lymphatic system.

On May 2, Exelis reported that the company’s first quarter revenue was $1 billion, a 12 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2013. But first quarter profit increased by about 17 percent to $52 million, or 27 cents per share.

B.J. Talley, Exelis’ director of corporate communications, said first quarter 2014 revenues were affected by “decreased customer activity on several services contracts in the Middle East and Afghanistan” and by lower sales volumes for night vision equipment and products designed to counter improvised explosive devices.

Talley said the increase in profits compared to the same period in 2013 was due primarily to restructuring expenses during the 2013 first quarter tied to facility consolidations and reorganization — expenses absent during the first quarter of 2014.

Email Duncan and follow him on Twitter @duncana54.

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