May 24, 2012

Dear Avondale Worker,

For the past two years, the Metal Trades Department has worked ceaselessly to keep Avondale open. We remain committed to that effort because we are convinced that Avondale has a future in shipbuilding and we are determined that union members like you are part of that future. We have formed a cooperative relationship to save Avondale with our International Union affilaites, the national AFL-CIO, Louisiana lawmakers, the White House and federal agencies having jurisdiction over commerce and maritime industries. Not a week goes by that we are not in meetings, discussions, and actively working with financial institutions trying to put together the necessary components to make Avondale a successful commercial shipyard.

In the media, Huntington Ingalls insists that the 2013 shutdown date is firm, yet we know that they would welcome the opportunity to continue to build ships at Avondale if a viable plan emerges. We thought that the American Feeder Lines plan to build four ships at Avondale with an option to build up to 10 was just such a plan, but unfortunately that company could not secure financing.

The Metal Trades Department is not giving up on Avondale and its hard working, skilled workers.  We promised you that if you did your part and put out high quality ships on time, we would leave no stone unturned to save Avondale- You have fulfilled every thing we could have hoped for and we are proud of your work and your skills. We will not give up.  There is hope and good opportunities for success.

Over the past several months we have had multiple meetings with HII management, lawmakers and government officials, including DOT Secretary LaHood, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and their  staff, to fight for the future of Avondale. We  believe there is a future for Avondale.

Keeping Avondale open and building ships is not just the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do in view of the growing need for commercial ships in U.S. commerce and transportation. Although AFL may  no longer be in the picture, there are other  companies that we believe are poised to move forward and transform Avondale into a commercial yard.  We never focused on any one company as the sole savior of Avondale.

We will continue to fight for the future of Avondale—working with the Obama Administration, local government officials, HII and Secretary Mabus to bring commercial shipbuilding back to the US and turn Avondale into a commercial shipyard building the best ships in the world.

In Solidarity,

Ron Ault, PresidentMetal Trades Department, AFL-CIO