The Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and Louisiana legislators are continuing efforts to keep Avondale Shipyards alive. Northrop Grumman is preparing to spin off its shipbuilding business and closing Avondale by 2013 is part of that plan.
At a New Orleans press conference today held in conjunction with a Metal Trades meeting, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D.-La.) released a joint letter he sent along with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D.-La.) to U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
The letter calls on Secretary Solis for an expedited assessment of the economic impact of the closing that would measure the total loss of income for the Avondale workers, the availability of jobs requiring similar skills and the cost to retrain workers unable to find jobs that require similar skills.
In the letter, the lawmakers say:
The long-term economic impact of the loss of these jobs goes far beyond the immediate impact on these workers' families. It will undoubtedly extend deep into the Gulf Coast communities that have yet to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the recent economic downturn and last year's BP oil spill.
Union officials are quoted by local media as saying that options include identifying local, state, or federal money that could be used to buy more time and keep Avondale open, or following up with investors who, they say, have expressed interest in buying the shipyard.