Shipyard Workers Rally Against Shutdown, Furloughs, And Fiscal Uncertainty

Oct 17, 2013

Maria Webber stands in solidarity with her husband Bill Webber, vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

  Federal shipyard workers and their supporters held a rally and march, Thursday in Portsmouth.  Although all shipyard workers returned to work this morning with the end of the government shutdown, union members spoke out against ongoing budget cuts, and the debt default that could come early next year.

As workers and family members stood with hand-drawn posters, leaders of the AFL-CIO, Metal Trades Council, and other unions warned that January could bring more furloughs, and even layoffs.

John Joyal is a welding instructor who has worked on the shipyard for 37 years. He’s also a member of the American Federation of Government Employees:

I have been through probably a dozen presidents, but I have never, in my entire adult life, seen such disregard for federal employees as I have lately.  

Nonessential workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard have been subject to as many as 16 furlough days this year, due to sequestration this summer, then the government shutdown, which ended last night.