Defense Force Management:

The 1990 Reduction-in-Force at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard

NSIAD-91-306: Published: Aug 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the reduction-in-force (RIF) at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, focusing on: (1) the reasons for RIF; (2) its impact on women and blacks; (3) the appropriateness of using separate job categories for nuclear and ocean engineering work; and (4) the layoff rates for white-collar positions versus blue-collar positions.

GAO found that: (1) because of its diminishing work load, Mare Island requested authority to reduce its work force; (2) between January and September 1990, about 900 employees retired or transferred from Mare Island; (3) due to RIF, Mare Island laid off 444 employees based on its selection of positions for elimination and application of RIF retention factors; (4) Mare Island did not recognize that RIF would have a disproportionate impact on women and blacks until after layoff notices were issued, at which time it took steps to retain or rehire some minorities who had lost their jobs; (5) Mare Island could not carry out the Department of Defense's (DOD) required equal employment opportunity impact analysis, since the Navy did not issue the implementing instructions until 1 month after RIF, and the instructions included little guidance on how to interpret and use the analysis; (6) since Mare Island used separate competitive levels for ocean engineering and nuclear positions, about 50 employees who could have competed for such positions were dismissed; (7) the layoff rate for women was 2.7 percent greater than the layoff rate for men and the layoff rate for blacks was about 4.8 percent greater than the layoff rate for other employees; and (8) most employees laid off were blue-collar employees, but the ratio of blue-collar workers to white-collar workers after RIF was consistent with the ratio that existed in January 1990.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Navy did not agree with the recommendation. Additional work would be required. The issue will likely be covered in work underway by the Department of Defense (DOD).

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should develop and issue guidance to Navy activities on how to interpret and use the equal employment opportunity impact analysis, submit such guidance to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management and Personnel as requested in his May 1990 memorandum, and monitor all activities experiencing reductions-in-force to ensure timely and effective implementation of the guidance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Navy did not agree with the recommendation. Additional work would be required. The issue will likely be covered in work underway by DOD.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct activities undergoing reductions-in-force to maximize opportunities under the regulations for employees with higher retention factors to qualify and compete for jobs in separate competitive levels with unique requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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