Sequestration to impact local shipyards

SAN DIEGO – Just two days before the sequestration deadline hits, employees at one of the San Diego’s largest shipyards were already feeling the squeeze.

President of the Shipyard Workers Union Bobby Godinez said the union represents 80 percent of the workforce at General Dynamics NASSCO.  NASSCO has been building ships for commercial customers and the U.S. Navy since 1960.

pic[1]“Around 450 letters went out yesterday advising them they could lose their jobs,” said Godinez. “They’re on edge, it’s tough.”

General Dynamics told Fox 5 that 750 employees have been told of possible layoffs beginning in late April.  At the San Diego location, a total of 375 employees will be affected.  In addition, some 290-subcontractor positions will likely be eliminated.

Down the road at Continental Maritime of San Diego, 185 notices were sent out this week.

“The cause of this notice was the uncertainty surrounding the potential impact of sequestration on future workload and the outcome of the continuing resolution,” said Bill Glenn, company spokesman.

President of the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association Derry Pence said the organization represents some 130 companies engaged in support of Navy vessels in San Diego.  Federal cuts would reach deep into the San Diego waterfront.

“In San Diego, alone we’re looking at the potential of losing up to 5,000 jobs,” said Pence. “Once these jobs are lost, replacing them is going to be very difficult.”

Pence said eight major ships were scheduled for work this year.  Each year, the Navy vessels come to the shipyards to be made “war ready” and brings in between $5-25 million.

Due to sequestration, the orders were cancelled, he said.

“Everybody has to start anticipating the drop off and it’s significant drop in work,” said Pence.