Naval shipyard workers face furloughs

7:39 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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KITTERY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Fustration and low morale is rippling through the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, employees came to work today knowing they face a 20 percent reduction in their pay the end of September.

Under sequestration, tens of thousands of federal works are facing mandatory furloughs. That includes the more than 5-thousand workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Workers could be furloughed one day a week for five months. Union leaders tell News Center, many workers are already looking for part time jobs, for some higher paid workers it's equivalent of a house payment.

Another concern, the furloughs could cause maintenance work on submarines in the yard, including the USS Miami, which was heavily destroyed in an arson fire last May, it along with other subs could fall behind schedule. Local restaurants, usually packed with shipyard employees have already seen a drop in business.

Paul O'Connor is the president of the Metal Trades Council, which represents many of those employees. Union leaders say they are fed up with depending on congress who is playing games with their livelihood. 

'Sequestration is completely congressionally manufactured they did it to us and and we are paying the price, not just we the shipyard but working men and women,' said O'Connor. 

 The furloughs are expected to take place in April, unless ongress comes up with a deficit reduction plan, but employees say they've pretty much given up hope on seeing that happen.

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