For Immediate Release

Contact: Amaya Tune (202) 637 5142

Greg Kenefick: 410-263-7134

Washington, DC, Sept. 17 – The Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO applauded work by the White House and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Rep. Charles Melancon to convince the U.S. Navy to alter its construction plans to keep Avondale Shipyard open beyond its scheduled shutdown of 2013.

Metal Trades President Ron Ault said, “the unions of the Metal Trades and the AFL-CIO have been working on this issue since last May and we have been in touch with everyone connected with shipbuilding —members of Congress, the administration, the Navy.

“Sen. Landrieu and Rep. Melancon have been terrific— working with us every step of the way. It also shows that the Obama administration is responsive to the economic impact of any loss of employment in the Gulf Coast region. This buys us some breathing space to keep Avondale open beyond Northrop Grumman’s scheduled shutdown date and we are very grateful to everyone who helped.”

Describing the developments as a “tremendous boost” for union efforts to keep the shipyard operating, Ault said that a permanent solution to maintaining shipbuilding in the Gulf Coast will hinge on finding a qualified buyer for Northrop Grumman’s three shipyards—Avondale, Ingalls in Pascagoula and Newport News in Virginia. Northrop Grumman appears intent on shedding its shipbuilding division, regardless of the future work prospects.

The Metal Trades, ten of its affiliated unions, and the AFL-CIO launched a public campaign to harness community support for the Shipyard last month. The initiative included a mobilization effort among Avondale workers along with religious leaders and the New Orleans business community.  In addition the effort included a billboard campaign which has been running across the city of New Orleans. Those efforts will continue until Avondale’s future is permanently assured.