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L-3 lays off 190 Utah workers

Published April 19, 2013 8:53 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Defense contractor L-3 Communication Systems has laid off about 190 Utah employees, citing downward trends in defense spending and the prospect of short-term cuts due to the budget impasse in Washington.

The layoffs, representing about 4.2 percent of the company's workforce in Utah, were ``difficult but necessary'' to maintain the division's competitiveness and to boost its ability to win and execute new contracts, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.

Workers at L-3's Salt Lake City site were informed Thursday morning of the job losses, which affected operations, administrative, engineering, technical and professional staff.

``These are hard times to put into words,'' said Camille Guth, vice president for human resources for L-3 Communication Systems-West in Utah.

Guth said that while long-term declines in U.S. military outlays have put pressure on L-3 and others defense contractors in recent years, the uncertainty spawned by this year's automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, also played a major role in the layoffs.

She said the company has offered severance packages to laid-off workers and has hired an outside firm to help them find new jobs.

Headquartered in New York, L-3 Communications provides a broad range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms.

Its Salt Lake City-based subsidiary develops and manufactures communications systems for high-performance intelligence collection, imagery processing and satellite communications, primarily for the U.S. Department of Defense.

L-3 Communications Systems-West employs about 4,400 people in Utah, ranking it among the state's top 10 private employers.

Worldwide, L-3 has a labor force of nearly 51,000 people. The publicly trade company posted revenue of $13.1 billion in 2012.

An L-3 corporate spokeswoman in New York did not return a call seeking comment.

tsemerad@sltrib.com