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Raytheon to close ABQ site

Raytheon Technologies is closing its facility at Sandia Science and Technologies Park in Albuquerque and laying off some of its 200 local employees. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Raytheon Technologies Corp. is shutting down operations at the Sandia Science and Technologies Park in southeast Albuquerque, where the company employs about 200 people.

Raytheon’s Albuquerque operations will be transferred to other company facilities outside of New Mexico, company spokesperson Heather Uberuaga told the Journal Tuesday.

“After careful and deliberate consideration, Raytheon Technologies has chosen to close the company’s Albuquerque facility and relocate support for key capabilities and customer programs to our other facilities around the country,” Uberuaga wrote in an email. “We think this move is in the best interest of our customers as we look to further integrate and streamline our capabilities with pursuits and programs located at other sites while working with employees on a case-by-case basis to explore their individual employment options going forward.”

Raytheon’s Albuquerque division has specialized in designing and building directed energy systems, including laser-based technology and high-powered electromagnetic, or microwave, systems. It’s worked closely in recent years with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base on those technologies to develop modern laser and microwave weapons.

That work will now be transferred to Raytheon Missiles and Defense headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, Uberuaga said.

Raytheon expanded its operations at the Sandia Science and Technology Park in 2017, adding a second building there that broadened its total space from 102,000 square feet before to 175,000 now.

The company received $850,000 in Local Economic Development Act funding from the state to offset the expansion costs.

Raytheon has already returned that money to the state, Uberuaga said.

The company announced the shutdown to local employees Tuesday morning in a conference call with the workforce, taking many by surprise, according to one employee.

“They’re telling us we’re losing our jobs,” the employee said while listening to the conference call and speaking on a separate line with the Journal. “They decided their operations in Albuquerque don’t align with their business plan and model and that they’re moving some programs to Massachusetts, some to Arizona, and that some programs will just sunset.”

The company told workers layoffs will begin in 60 days and conclude by the end of the year, the employee said.

“We had heard rumors, but there was nothing official until today,” he said.

Uberuaga said all laid off workers will receive severance packages that include one week per year of service, with a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of 26 weeks for regular employees working 20 hours or more per week. Health care will continue during the severance, and COBRA insurance will be available afterward.

“Raytheon Technologies also offers an educational benefit to employees who are laid off,” Uberuaga added. “While we are not using a third-party outplacement provider, we are collaborating with New Mexico’s dislocated worker unit to help employees find other employment if they wish to stay in Albuquerque. Other options for the employees may include relocating to a new site or applying for different positions on other programs across the country.”

The Albuquerque shutdown will not affect Raytheon operations on the Navajo Nation, where the company employs about 350 people, Uberuaga said.

Workers there make electromechanical assemblies and other products for missiles.

Raytheon is a global aerospace defense contractor headquartered in Massachusetts. It reported $74 billion in net sales in 2019 with 195,000 employees across the globe.

The company announced a merger in April with United Technologies Corp. through an all-stock transaction between the two firms.

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