Sixty-two civil-service employees have accepted early-retirement offers in a plan to cut jobs at the U.S. Air Force 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, often referred to as the "boneyard."
The group is one of Tucson's largest employers, with 857 full-time-equivalent jobs. Workers maintain or retire old aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
This is the first time the group has seen job cuts in several years. The group added 245 jobs in 2010, and employment held steady since then.
Col. Allan Day and Col. Patrick Kumashiro met with local leaders on Friday to talk about the changes.
"The meeting was held to discuss AMARG's current and future workload requirements and the plan to align its workforce accordingly," said Lt. Susan Carlson.
The group's workload naturally fluctuates, and two maintenance contracts are ending, she said.
Carlson said items such as a change in the type of aircraft being regenerated, which requires fewer man-hours, and changes in the design of newer aircraft that require less maintenance have contributed to the need to reduce the workforce.
"AMARG's workforce-resizing activities include participation in the Air Force's Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay program," Carlson said. "Currently, 62 civil-service employees have accepted voluntary retirements."
She did not say how many additional position reductions, if any, will take place.
Ellen Jimenez, chair of the Tucson Metro Chamber's Military Affairs Committee, attended Friday's meeting.
"There's a lot of support for the base here in Tucson, so they're just keeping that communication line open," she said.
The early-retirement program won't have an effect on the overall economic impact of the Air Force base in Tucson, she said.
She also said she thinks everyone who is eligible for the program is signing up because of fears related to Air Force budget cuts.
Did you know
In 1946, Tucson was chosen as the site of a new storage facility for B-29 and C-47 aircraft because of the climate and hard-as-concrete soil.
By the numbers
Employment at the U.S. Air Force 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group
Source: Star 200
Contact reporter Becky Pallack at email@example.com or 573-4346.