Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Paul O'Connor, president of the labor council representing most of the 4,700 civilian employees at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, said the uncertainty is taking a toll on work-force morale. Some workers are looking for part-time jobs and many are cutting back on spending, which would in turn affect local businesses that depend on the shipyard workers' patronage.
"We're like everybody else. We don't have 20 percent left over in our paychecks every month," said O'Connor, an electrician and president of the Portsmouth Metal Trades Council, the umbrella organization for the shipyard's numerous labor unions.
O'Connor isn't banking on a resolution any time soon.
"The hope is that before we get too deep into it Congress will realize the disastrous impact of this self-manufactured crisis and undo it, but I have been thinking about that," O'Connor said. "What has changed in Congress to make us think they will now be able to work together to get beyond sequestration?"
The roughly 570 civilian employees at the Maine National Guard facing furloughs maintain the Guard's vehicles and aircraft and operate Guard facilities throughout the state, Steinbuchel said. Furloughs there would likely begin around April 25.
"That has a definite impact on the readiness of the Maine Army and Air National Guard, and that would compromise our ability to respond to a crisis," Steinbuchel said. But in the meantime, Steinbuchel said state Guard leaders are awaiting more guidance from national officials.
Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at: