More Hanford Layoffs Could Lead to Big Impact on the Tri-Cities

More Hanford Layoffs Could Lead to Big Impact on the Tri-Cities
TRI-CITIES -- KEPR is digging deeper into the news that 2,500 workers could be laid off at Hanford by mid-fall. A second round of layoffs was first reported by the Tri-City Herald on Thursday, and that’s coming on top of the layoffs already expected.

With news of layoffs, hundreds are scrambling to find jobs. That's why workers like Roy Plunkett came to the Hanford job fair on Friday out at Pasco. He's work at the site since 1987.

“You know it's coming with the stimulus money, you knew it was going away everybody knew the cuts were going to happen,” said Plunkett. “So yeah we kind of expected it, hopefully it doesn't affect you, or it doesn't get quite as tough, but this time it has.”

Even if it's expected, it doesn't make it easy. Like many others, Roy raised his kids here and considered the Tri-Cities their home.

He's part of the 1,650 layoffs announced back in January, and then on Thursday, another 1,100 firings were tacked on. That's a total of 2,750 jobs lost in the next couple months, which could mean a wave of people leaving the Tri-Cities.

“They're good prospects out there, there's a lot of questions and if you want to relocate perhaps, and we're fine with that as well, "added Plunkett. "You got to go where the work is."

Even employers at the fair have been surprised by how many are open to leaving the Tri-Cities.

“I thought most of these people would want to be here, and this is their home,” said Paul Hudson from Bechtel. “I guess people are willing to see the world.”

Losing thousands of local jobs is never good, but TRIDEC says the Tri-Cities is prepared for it.

“If this would've been 1995 and we would've lost 500 jobs, the impact would've been much greater,” said TRIDEC President Carl Adrian. “If you think about it, the community was much smaller than, too, so the impact was less.”

TRIDEC believes the hit to the local economy will be minimal, but it may affect investments and future growth. The hit will no doubt come to many families.

“The one that I think is certainly more concerning is the announcement yesterday just because those were permanent employees and probably do have some roots here in the community,” said Adrian.

A post-stimulus Hanford has arrived and workers like Roy Plunkett are bracing for a new adventure.

“It's hard to beat Tri-Cities, just a great area,” said Plunkett. “Hopefully we get to stay.”

TRIDEC also told KEPR it would have a better idea of what the impact will be once DOE announces its budget for the upcoming year. For now they say the additional 1,100 layoffs are just an estimate.