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TAC lays off, furloughs workers

Springfield company cuts 17 jobs, plans furloughs due to defense cuts.

TAC Industries has laid off 17 employees due to contract cuts and the impending loss of more contract money from sequestration.

The local job center also is bracing for more defense-related lay offs.

In addition to jobs cut last week, about 90 TAC employees will see either wage cuts of 5 to 20 percent, a mandatory furlough day in March and April, or both.

TAC’s military cargo-net manufacturing contract has seen a nearly 82 percent decrease. The contract is worth $1.25 million now, down from more than $6.5 million.

“It happened because of decreases in our government contracts,” CEO Mary Brandstetter said. “We held off really probably a little longer than we might have as we kept hoping they’d reach a deal last week and hear something positive.”

Sequestration calls for $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board cuts that took effect two weeks ago when lawmakers and the president couldn’t reach a budget deal to avoid them.

The full effect of the impending cuts remains unknown on the defense industry, which employs thousands in the area through Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Springfield Air National Guard Base and military contractors such as TAC Industries.

TAC currently works with 326 people with disabilities and has 90 support staff and has two contracts with the U.S. Air Force — one to manufacture new cargo nets and another to repair cargo nets.

The non-profit also has adult day care services and employs those with disabilities.

The 17 workers laid off last week include production workers who aren’t disabled as well as some supervisory and office personnel.

Brandstetter said direct care staff who work in the day care services weren’t affected by wage reductions.

“The cuts we’ve made are tailored to not impact services we need to provide for people with disabilities,” Brandstetter said. “The cuts came from manufacturing associates, supervisors and office staff.”

While TAC’s cargo net repair contract increased 30 percent this year to $2.2 million, that wasn’t enough to offset the cuts. The company also has hired a sales person to seek out some additional private sector work.

Job and Family Services of Clark County deployed a rapid response team last week to work with the 17 people who were laid off.

Some individuals have already had interviews with other employers and others attended Wednesday’s job fair, which had 43 businesses and more than 600 job seekers, said Lehan Peters, deputy director of JFS and WorkPlus One-Stop Center.

She said the organization is gearing up for the impact of further defense-related job cuts.

“We’ve had discussions with the workforce investment board and are applying for rapid response funds to serve (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) workers,” Peters said. “We’re just waiting and hoping it will just be furloughs.”

While the direct impact of the sequester hasn’t been defined, the base already lost workers because of preliminary defense cuts.

Ron Price, a Springfield resident for 20 years, was laid off from a civilian Wright-Patt job three months ago. He specializes in IT and said the project he was working on was cancelled. He has had difficulty finding jobs that cater to his specialty.

“It seemed like (the job market) was good right after I was laid off. There seemed like more jobs were available,” Price said. “But now it’s dried up a bit in the last month.”

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