Maine, N.H. shipyard workers rally against cuts
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers from Maine and New Hampshire have rallied to call on Congress to cancel automatic budget cuts that will affect their pay.
About 150 people gathered yesterday afternoon for about an hour at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, across the river from the Kittery, Maine, shipyard. Community members and advocates for at-risk families joined the workers in their support.
The shipyard employs about 4,700 civilian workers in Maine and New Hampshire.
Civilian workers at the shipyard and throughout the United States expect to be told soon they will be forced to take 22 days off without pay between April and Sept. 30 if nothing happens to change the cuts, known as sequestration.
Former Kittery state rep Walt Wheeler, a retired
shipyard worker, told the Portsmouth Herald he’s concerned the cuts could
grow and extend beyond
September, well into the future.
Earlier yesterday, Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree took to the floor of the U.S. House to give her support to the workers and criticize Congressional inaction leading to the cuts.
“It’s outrageous that Congress has not done its job and passed a balanced deficit reduction package,” Pingree said. “It’s outrageous that Congress has resorted to these arbitrary, extreme budget cuts.”
She added, “The public workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and around the country deserve our thanks – not a 20 percent pay cut.”