Friday, October 4, 2013

Thousands of Puget Sound Shipyard Workers Furloughed

About 3,500 civilian workers have been furloughed from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington due to the federal government shutdown, according to the US Navy.

Furlough notice provisions were handed out to affected shipyard workers on Oct. 1 the day the shutdown began, and the base suspended apprentice and helper training classes.

“Due to a lapse in federal funding, many federal employees have been furloughed. Under the furlough notice provisions employees are not permitted to come to the work area while furloughed,” read a statement posted Oct. 1 on the shipyard’s official Facebook page. “Many of our apprentices, helpers, and instructors are in a furlough status therefore we have found it necessary to curtail apprentice and helper classes until the federal funding issue is resolved.”

In an online post the night before the government shutdown went into effect, Acting Commander Capt. James Lee said that about 3,500 Naval Shipyard personnel would receive furlough letters at work.

Shipyard personnel who support activities that are exempted from the shutdown continue to work, although they won’t be paid until after the shutdown ends. Lee’s post said those workers “will be paid retroactively once the lapse of appropriations ends.”

The shipyard, which has a workforce of about 10,700, had recently announced it would be hiring 1,073 helper trainees, but that’s now on hold.

If the funding lapse is not resolved by Oct 6, the shipyard’s apprentice classes will be curtailed, according to the shipyard.