Civilian employees of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard plan to gather at noon today in downtown Portsmouth to protest sequestration and the impact it will have on the approximately 4,700 civilian employees who work at the Kittery shipyard.
The Department of Defense employs nearly 7,000 civilian workers in Maine, almost all of which could be forced to take up to 22 days of unpaid leave between April 25 and the end of September because of the mandatory budget cuts.
The federal government plans to start notifying federal workers today whether they will be furloughed.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree this morning in a statement delivered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives said the furloughs would be a “real hardship” for the employees of the Kittery shipyard, and criticized Congressional inaction that has led to mandatory budget cuts.
“These men and women in Kittery are some of the hardest working, most skilled and dedicated shipyard workers in America,” Pingree said. “Year in and year out they repair and refit submarines to the highest standards – on time and on budget. And last year some of them even risked their lives to put out a fire on board the USS Miami and save it from becoming a total loss. Now the federal government is telling them they have to take what could amount to a 20% pay cut.”
Here’s a video of her speech: