For Immediate Release
May 16, 2013
Contact Ron Ault, 202-508-3705

Statement by MTD President Ron Ault on Defense Secretary Hagel’s Decision to Exempt Civilian Workers at the Navy’s Shipyards from Sequestration Imposed Furloughs

Washington, DC— As the president of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, the umbrella organization made up of the unions representing members at each of our four Naval Shipyards, I am glad to see some finality to the Congressional created crisis of sequestration in the decision of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. We wish to thank Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for his assistance in this matter.

The May 14, 2013 announcement by The U.S. Department of Defense backs up what we’ve said all along, furloughing these workers would put our national security at risk.

A memo issued by the office of the Secretary of Defense explains the exemption, “Employees in Navy shipyards will be excepted from furlough because it would be particularly difficult to make up delays in maintenance work on nuclear vessels and these vessels are critical to mission success.”

We have been working closely with the Navy in regard to our four Naval Shipyard bargaining units and are gratified that Secretary Hagel considered all the facts of their essential national security work and services repairing and modernizing our front line combat ships.

This decision is, however, bittersweet. There are still thousands of federal employees facing furloughs. It is unfortunate that Secretary Mabus could not convince Secretary Hagel to exempt the entire Navy civilian workforce.

The crisis of sequestration was created by Congress’ inability to find common ground and consider the security of our nation over their own political agendas is an affront to all Americans.

It is time to place any blame squarely at the feet the do nothing bickering partisan Tea-Party led Congress that created this fiasco and placed unnecessary hardship on our nation’s most loyal workers—our civil service workforce.