Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today the opening of a business development office in Houston, Texas, to pursue opportunities in the commercial energy market. If successful in obtaining work, manufacturing will be performed at Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans, LA. With this new venture HII plans to redeploy Avondale into a non-Navy manufacturing facility.

While the success of this new business endeavor is not set in stone, the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO applauds Hunting Ingalls Industries for its unwavering commitment to keep Avondale Shipyard operational. We will continue to work with and support HII as they pursue this new opportunity.

The saving of Avondale Shipyard has been a top priority of the Metal Trades Department since HII announced the yard would close in May 2010.

This new opportunity would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the Avondale SOS team. The AFL-CIO, our MTD affiliated unions and executive council members, Avondale’s workforce and Huntington Ingalls CEO Mike Petters and corporate vice president and general manager of Corporate Development Chris Kastner.

This was a team effort. We are so proud of the team that we helped to assemble including Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and Congressmen Cedric Richmond, Steve Scalise, and former Representative Charlie Melancon, as well as Governor Bobby Jindal.

We would also like to thank the White House, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for their assistance throughout our more than two-year campaign to save the yard.

We welcome the opportunity for our New Orleans Metal Trades Council to build a strong working relationship with HII in this new venture. Avondale’s shipbuilding workforce has many of the same skillsets needed in the energy sector and we hope to see those workers redeployed.

Saving this yard will help to stabilize the economy in Avondale and its surrounding area.

See the release from HII