Thousands of Pearl Harbor shipyard workers face furloughs due to government shutdown

Pearl Harbor Shipyard Workers

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For workers at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, there were many questions leading up to Monday.

“How are you gonna pay your bills, gonna feed your family? I’m pretty sure everybody’s thinking like that, pretty much it,” shipyard worker Al Domingo said.

Their union, the Hawaii Metal Trades Council, says there are a total of 4,500 workers in the shipyard — 1,200 will be exempt from the furloughs.

“To protect national security life and property and safety, so it leaves a balance of about over 3,000 employees that will be furloughed,” said Don Bongo, Hawaii Metal Trades Council.

But they won’t get paid until the Congress standoff is over and a budget is approved. Workers can only hope that the stalemate doesn’t last more than a couple of days.

“The longer it goes, I’m pretty sure it will be pretty bad ’cause only one income in the household going. So I’ve got a couple of kids, so it will be pretty tough,” Domingo said.

There are many others in the same ship. There are about 9,000 federal workers employed by the U.S. Navy who face the same fate. Their union representative says they’ve already had to deal with so many cuts.

“Congress is acting irrationally and irresponsibly right now, and it’s the federal workers that are gonna be suffering for it. And we’ve already been suffering through sequestration with the furloughs and reductions in force and the pay freezes,” said Jamie Hiranaka, president for the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 121.

So, there’s frustration aimed towards Capitol Hill.

“We can’t do nothing, but roll with it and do the best we can and just deal with it I guess right? I mean that’s how we’re gonna do it, but it just sucks that we’re on the end of it,” Domingo said.

The union will be asking for retroactive pay for the furloughed workers, but that also has to be approved by Congress.

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