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Boilermakers, Metal Trades rally to save Avondale shipyard

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L-1814 members march near the Superdome with other unions and supporters to keep Northrop Grumman from closing the Avondale shipyard in 2013.

Over, 1,000 workers, supporters march in New Orleans

A MARCH AND rally to keep the Avondale shipyard open drew more than 1,000 union workers and supporters to the New Orleans Superdome Oct. 1. The Superdome was the starting point for the march, which ended at the Hale Boggs federal building. Boilermakers Local 1814 (Bridge City, La.) and various other unions of the New Orleans Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO, took part in the event, along with local elected officials, area business owners, faith and community leaders, and public sector unions such as the American Federation of Teachers.

Among the speakers for the day were R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists; Ron Ault, president of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO; U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-2), and Percy Pyne IV, chairman of the American Feeder Lines.

Avondale shipyard is the largest employer in the state of Louisiana. It is scheduled to shut down in 2013 after Northrop Grumman completes the last of two amphibious transport dock ships (LPDs) for the U.S. Navy. About 5,000 jobs will be lost when the facility is shuttered. An estimated 7,000-10,000 indirect jobs will also disappear.

Northrop Grumman has said it will get out of the shipbuilding business and has spun off that work to Huntington Ingalls Industries. Avondale operations will be consolidated at the Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard, where members of Boilermakers Local 693 and other unions are employed.

Since the closure was announced in 2010, unions, local interests, and state and federal officials have sought to convince Northrop Grumman to keep the shipyard open or at least sell it to another shipbuilder. Northrop Grumman has declined to do either, even though the operation has been profitable.

For more information and updates on the closure and the Save Our Shipyard (SOS) campaign sponsored by the Metal Trades, visit http://avondalesos.org.

Tags  Local News
Locals  L-693, L-1814
Reporter  V50N4
Published on the Web: October 13, 2011

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