BAE Systems on Monday announced it will reduce its workforce during the next three months.
The defense contractor will lay off approximately 135 people at its West Manchester Township facility, according to spokesman Randy Coble.
Many of the layoffs are attributed to reductions in federal defense spending, he said.
The York site has always served as manufacturing base for military combat vehicles, changing its name during the last few decades from BMY to United Defense to BAE.
"The York facility is entering its lowest production levels in the program's 30-year history, but we continue to work closely with the Army to maintain as much of the base as possible," Coble said.
It's also one of the company's lowest headcounts during the last 30 years. In November 2009, the local site had 5,000 employees. After the 135 layoffs, there will be 915 workers at the West Manchester Township facility.
Employees were notified in person on Monday that this will be their last week of work, he said.
Layoffs will continue through February and include union and salaried employees, Coble said.
Union employees have recall rights for the next five years should BAE attract enough work to need more workers. BAE is contractually obligated to give union workers first dibs on any positions that may be created if there's an increase in production, he said.
But BAE doesn't expect to hire more workers anytime soon. In fact, there could be more layoffs next year, Coble said.
As wars have ended in the Middle East, and the defense budget has decreased, BAE has received less work, he said.
President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget outlines a production break for the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle program, beginning in 2014 and possibly extending through 2017.
"As of today, we run out of work for the Bradley line in November," Coble said.
BAE has been working with the Army to get a contract in place for some conversion work that would extend the Bradley line into late 2015, he said.
That contract hasn't been signed yet, but the company expects to get one in place before the end of the year.
"If things don't change, we do expect a continued need for layoffs through 2014," Coble said.
How many layoffs could be expected next year is unclear.
It depends how many contracts are inked.
For example, the recently announced layoffs are tied to both the shutdown of the Bradley line and the end of contract work for Medium Mine Protected Vehicles and M109 Artillery Vehicles.
Even during the Bradley line shutdown, BAE will continue to repair the combat vehicles and is hoping to get a contract in place for conversion work on 150 Bradleys.
"We want to keep the line warm, and keep the skill sets and suppliers intact," Coble said.
Having a line go cold is new territory for the defense contractor.
"Defense is a cyclical business. We've had slowdowns, but we've never had a shutdown," he said.
In an event of war or escalating conflict in which the military suddenly needs more vehicles, BAE said it's confident it could meet customer demands.
"We'll find a way to scale up and meet the needs of the Army and Marines," Coble said.