About 20 employees of oil services company Baker Hughes Inc. were let go after barely a month on the job, according to laid off workers.
Baker Hughes supplies oilfield services, products and technology to the oil industry. Corporate spokespeople at the company's Houston headquarters could not be reached for comment.
A local manager who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media confirmed the company laid off a number of full-time workers Thursday, putting the number at fewer than 20.
The men who were let go were recruited from out of town to work a rotating schedule of two weeks in Bakersfield and one week off in their hometowns.
Eight men waiting for a flight out of Meadows Field on Thursday said they were terminated earlier in the day with no notice after having been on the job just a few weeks.
All of them said they left other positions to work for the company and were angry.
"I quit a good job to come here," said Abdoule Lowe, 33, of Everett, Wash. "I have a wife and two kids to feed. What am I going to do now?"
Aaron Michaels, 22, of Kent, Wash., said he feels betrayed.
"They specifically said this isn't a short-term job, it's a career. That's what they told us to get us to work for them," Michaels said.
The employees who were let go were mostly machine operators and their supervisors, said father of three Wayne Thompson, 47, of Marysville, Wash.
They were offered severance pay of $1,200, provided they sign documents waiving their right to sue, Thompson said.
The workers said there doesn't seem to be communication between Baker Hughes executives and leaders of BJ Services Co., a smaller oil services company Baker Hughes acquired in 2010. It was BJ Services officials who brought the new recruits on board and then almost immediately let them go, the employees said.
"We're all more than qualified to do the work," Thompson said. "We had criminal background checks and drug tests, even gave them hair samples. We left our families, kids, wives to come here. They spent a whole lot of money to get us out here just to fire us."
-- Staff writer John Cox contributed to this report.