Virginia International Terminals is laying off 90 employees, or 20 percent of its work force, immediately, the operating affiliate of the Virginia Port Authority announced Aug. 3.
This is the first mass layoff initiated by VIT in its 27-year history. Prior to the announcement, VIT employed 452 people at its marine cargo terminals in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News and the Virginia Inland Port, an intermodal facility in Front Royal, Va.
“For more than a year, VIT has taken every cost-cutting step imaginable to avoid job losses,” said Joseph A. Dorto, VIT’s CEO and general manager. “Unfortunately, the sustained recession in global markets has overtaken VIT and we are no longer able to financially support our current operating model.
“This is the most difficult day in my 40-year career,” he said.
Cargo volume and revenue in the fiscal year ended June 30 were down nearly 25 percent, VIT said. “Many experts believe we are two years removed from real recovery,” Dorto said.
Dorto planned to meet with employees at Norfolk International Terminals at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday to address the VIT work force.
Employees participating in a voluntary separation program for employees age 62 and older will receive six months’ salary and company-sponsored individual medical coverage until age 65. Employees affected by Monday’s layoff will receive at least 60 days pay and health coverage. For employees with the company nine years or more, one week's salary and a week of health coverage will be granted for each year of service.
Seniority and unique skill sets required in particular fields will determine which personnel will be laid off, VIT said.
In a reversal of long-standing policy, employees involved in the Aug. 3 layoff will be eligible for future employment with VIT, Dorto said. “As the economy and our business recover, we hope to rehire some of the talented staff we’ve lost today,” he said.
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