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Desert Dispatch File Photo
From left to right: Heavy mobile equipment mechanics Sandra Irwin, Brian Sanchez and John Kreiger repair a Humvee at the Marine Corps Logistics Base's Maintenance Center July 16 in Yermo.

Marine base cuts 170 workers

More layoffs may come

YERMO • The Marine Corps Logistics Base is slashing its workforce and started by laying off approximately 170 workers from its Maintenance Center in Yermo Monday, according to MCLB officials.

The layoffs are coming just four months after a massive hiring effort when maintenance center officials said they were looking to hire between 400 to 600 workers to meet a surge in demand from vehicles and equipment returning from Iraq and Afghanistan needing repair before being shipped back overseas.

But things have changed now, according to officials.

“As operational commitments have grown overseas, much of the expected equipment will not be repaired or overhauled at Maintenance Center Barstow. ... This has resulted in a smaller workload than expected,” an MCLB release stated.

“They have to keep it in theater (in combat)...repair it on the spot,” said  Rob Jackson, MCLB spokesman.

The laid-off workers on Monday were contractors from U.S. Logistics, Lear Siegler Incorporated and the Parker Group, according to a MCLB release. If the number of workers needed continues to drop, the MCLB will turn to cutting temporary and term positions “as necessary,” the release stated.

MCLB Spokesman Keith Hayes said there isn’t an exact date yet as to when the changes will be implemented — but it will be soon.

“It’s going to be starting in the next couple of weeks,” said Hayes. “We don’t have a specific date for it.”

Hayes said he sympathizes with those losing their jobs but noted that the maintenance workers hired in July were informed that the positions were based on an increased demand of incoming vehicles at the time.

“That was the understanding when they were hired,” Hayes said, that “it was contingent upon the work.”

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4122 or elee@desertdispatch.com

 

Fast facts
• From July to October, the Marine Corps Logistics Base hired 400 workers at its Yermo Annex Maintenance Center in anticipation of a surge in vehicles needing repairs.
• Around 2005, the base also had an emergency hiring, where they hired 287 workers in 45 days. However back then, most of the workers continued onto permanent positions.
• The MCLB is Barstow’s second largest employer, with 1,567 civil workers and 104 military employees.


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