Shipyard workers worried about sequestration

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by Mike Gooding, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 8:59 PM

NORFOLK--A year and a half after sequestration almost brought ruin upon its industry, the Virginia ship Repair Association is looking towards the future. But, with a wary eye.

That's because the automatic defense cuts known as sequestration could return in fiscal year 2016, unless congress passes legislation to un-do that part of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

At an industry demonstration Thursday at BAE Systems, shipyard workers said they're hoping for the best.

"Well, I'm really not worried because we survived last year, mainly because I'm a woman of faith," said BAE welder Renee Bristol, who has worked at the facility for more than 30 years. "So, my trust is that, you've done it before, you'll do it again."

Last February, at the height of concern about sequestration, BAE sent "warn" letters to some 1,200 of its workers, advising them that layoffs could be a possibility.

Virginia Ship Repair Association President Bill Crow, whose organization represents 230 member companies and 33,000 workers, says he is concerned, and he hopes that members of Congress understand the gravity of the situation.

All six members of the Hampton Roads congressional delegation have vowed to fight sequestration, with Senator Mark Warner repeatedly calling the policy, "stupid on steroids."

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