WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden are concerned about the health and safety of shipyard workers amid this coronavirus pandemic.
Together, they have sent a letter and made phone calls urging the Acting Navy Secretary, Thomas Modly, to implement the same guidelines for large private shipyards that the Navy has issued to each of its four public shipyards- guidelines that are intended to limit the exposure of shipyard workers to COVID-19 while still maximizing important national security work.
In a letter previously written to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary Modly they expressed their concerns stating, “In Maine, workers at shipbuilder Bath Iron Works, as well as at other defense suppliers of all sizes, must now contend with significant health concerns at work while also arranging to care for their children who are now staying at home due to school closures,” the Maine Delegation continued. “The strain and stress on our skilled workforce today are without recent precedent. Given these challenges, the Department of Defense and the Navy must immediately act to protect our nation’s defense industrial base, including our nation’s shipyards.”
The Maine Delegation continued to convey concerns over the very highly contagious and deadly pandemic- something that our country has not faced in more than a century. Private shipyards are now dealing with a pandemic and working to maintain contractual obligations while needing to comply with state and local public health orders. "Therefore, we believe the Navy should take aggressive actions to ensure the health of the shipyard industrial base workforce is not put at undue risk as governments at all levels work to halt the spread of COVID-19,” said the Maine Delegation.
Senators Collins and King hold seats on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, respectively. Congresswoman Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Congressman Golden is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.