WASHINGTON — Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., on Thursday continued to express concern about the impact of sequestration on Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
During a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which both senators serve, Shaheen cited a letter from Paul O’Connor, president of the Metal Trades Council at the shipyard, in asking Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of Naval Operations, to elaborate on the long-term impact of sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board cuts in federal discretionary spending that kicked in last March.
Barring an agreement by Congress, another round of sequestration is slated to take place in January under a 2011 legislative deal that paved the way for an increase in the federal debt ceiling.
Questioning Greenert, Shaheen read verbatim from the O’Connor letter, in which he asked: “With nine and a half more years of sequestration hanging over our heads, nine and a half more years of furloughs and layoffs, how will we attract the best and brightest men and women to our technologically sophisticated, complex, precision-based industry?'”
O’Connor’s letter continued: “The security, instability and volatility of sequestration on our shipyard and national work force cannot be understated. The personal impact, mission impact and national security impact are real, and contrary to the best interest of America.'”
Replied Greenert: “I’m glad we get to see that letter, because it very clearly states the debilitating effect of doing this year after year. … We think we are saving costs, (but) we’re just avoiding costs.”
Greenert, who appeared at the Armed Services Committee hearing along with the top uniformed officers for the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, went on to express his concern for the state of nuclear shipyards such as the Kittery, Maine, yard, whose mission focuses on repair and modernization of nuclear-powered submarines.
“I’m concerned about the shore infrastructure,” Greenert told Shaheen. “We’re deferring work that’s going to come to roost.”
Ayotte’s inquiry on the overall size of the Navy’s fleet led to a discussion of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s loss of the USS Miami project this past summer. The Navy announced in August it had decided not to repair the submarine, which was damaged in a fire set by civilian worker Casey Fury, citing the impact of sequestration and cost of the repairs.
“Unfortunately, due to sequestration, we lost the USS Miami, which was a project Portsmouth had,” Greenert said. “But the overruns, the furloughs, and the need to have to go to a commercial work force instead of using a federal work force … it was just too much, and we couldn’t afford that submarine and continue to do the others.”
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, also a member of the Armed Services Committee, echoed Shaheen and Ayotte’s contention that sequestration has compromised the capabilities of the U.S. military.
“It seems to be that we’re telling you that you have to cut a finger off and you get to decide which one,” he said. “That’s an unattractive form of having to make decisions.”
Starting July 8th, mandatory furloughs for upwards of 700,000 Department of Defense workers will go into effect. Each worker is required to take 11 unpaid holidays – one per week – meaning their pay will drop 20% for 11 weeks. We can’t allow this to continue.
Use the letter below to automatically contact your members of Congress and tell them these furloughs have to stop. Take a minute of your time and make a difference for your fellow feds today!
Use this Automatic Form to Contact Your Legislators Today!
(When contacting Congress be sure to do so as a constituent, on your own time, using your own computer)
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO strongly condemns the passage of H.R. 1120, in the House of Representatives.
This legislation is another example of the all-out assault by many Republicans on the National Labor Relations Board and on basic workers protections. While 10 Republicans stood up for workers’ rights and voted “no” on H.R. 1120, the vast majority of Republican members voted for the bill’s passage.
The bill would “prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from taking any action that requires a quorum of the members of the Board until such time as Board constituting a quorum shall have been confirmed by the Senate.” Meanwhile the Republicans have frustrated the appointment of qualified leadership to the NLRB through parliamentary tactics.
“The passage of this bill is just another example of the cynical Republican policies designed to frustrate the rights of workers on the job and the utter disdain for the vital work that the NLRB performs,” said Ron Ault, president of the Metal Trades Department.
The Federal Workers Alliance (FWA)—a coalition of twenty-one labor unions, collectively representing more than 300,000 federal workers government wide—has created an online message board for members and their families to share their personal stories about the impact of sequestration and furloughs.
Let’s put a face to the wokers affected by Congress’ inaction. Our stories matter.
The board is very easy to use and there is no login required. The board can be accessed by clicking this link: http://www.quicktopic.com/50/H/6F5wDrDVdjY
Here is what some of you are already saying about the impact of furloughs and sequestration on your families.
Under the current Continuing Resolution (CR), which is funding government agencies at Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) levels, the Department of Navy, its workers, and its mission are all being stretched thin.
Navy Actions under Continuing Resolution:
- Cancel 10 Ships in San Diego, 10 in Norfolk, 1 in New London, 1 in Washington, 1 in Mayport.
- Cancel 3rd and 4th qtr aircraft maintenance in San Diego, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Whidbey Island, Lemoore, and Cherry Point.
- Cut 1,121 Temporary workers mostly in shipyards and base operating support.
- Reduce Facilities, Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization (FSRM) by 50%
- Cut Base Operation and Support (BOS) by 10%
- Cut Navy Expeditionary Combat Command
- Reduce ship ops, flying hours
- Cancel 30 building demolition projects
- Delay decommissioning and/ or disposal prep
- Implement civilian hiring freeze
- Defer “new start” MILCON projects
- Defer “new start” Construction of CVN 79
- Defer “new start” aircraft procurements
- Defer “new start” research and development
- Cancel construction of 1 D DG-51
- Cancel several Attack Submarines (SSN) deployments
- Flying hours on deployed carriers in Middle East reduced 55%; streaming days reduced 22%
- Reduce WestPac deployed ops by 35%; Non-deployed Pac ships lose 40% of streaming days
- Cancel naval operation in and around South America; cancel all non-BMD patrols
- Shutdown all flying for 4 of 9 CVWs in Mar13. 9-12 months to restore normal readiness at 2-3 times the cost.
- Stop non-deployed operations that do not support pre-deployment training.
- Reduce non-deployed operations for pre-deployment training.
- Cut all exercises (e.g., MALABAR, CARAT, FOAL Eagle).
- Reduce port visits.
- Furlough most Civilians for 22 work days.
- Defer emergent repairs
- Cancel Community outreach programs
- NIM, GHWB CSGs will not be ready for scheduled FY13 deployments
- By OCT13, only 1 CSG/ 1 ARG (Japan-based) crisis ready
- By OCT13, CONUS forces will require 9+ months to deploy due to maintenance and training curtailments
- Middle East deployed CSG reduced to 1 by mid-FY14
- Up to 46,000 Department of Defense civilian employees will be immediately laid off.
- Another 800,000 workers will face furlough days resulting in a 20 percent pay cut.
- More than 100,000 people could lose jobs in the shipbuilding and repair industry and our supply chain.
- 800,000 civilian employees will face as many as 22 furlough days, closing our shipyards one day a week until September 2013. These employees will see a 20 percent reduction in their
- Economists believe as many as one million jobs will be directly or indirectly lost should Congress fail to pass a defense budget.
- Another CR will result in additional ships being decommissioned or deferrals of new Navy ship construction programs and the accompanying loss of as many as 100,000 jobs in shipbuilding and the supply chain.
- As of February 6, 2013,the deployment of the U.S.S. Harry Truman strike group, which had been scheduled to deploy to the Persian Gulf had been cancelled. Our troops in the Persian Gulf for the first time have only one strike group in place.
- The Navy is canceling 23 ships scheduled for repair and modernization already contracted as well as overhauls and scheduled dry-docking because the old continuing resolutions cannot fund them. Our readiness as a military force is being systematically degraded by continuing resolutions and the threat of sequestration.
- The Navy will start canceling ship repairs and defer or cancel construction of some new vessels starting on February 15th.