Pascagoula shipbuilders speak out about consolidation plan - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula shipbuilders speak out about consolidation plan

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi's largest private employer wants to put its shipbuilding business up for sale. Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush told investors this morning now is the right time to explore whether it makes good financial sense to sell its shipbuilding business. That follows Monday's announcement that the company will close its Louisiana yard and move the operation to Pascagoula. 

This defense leader's new plan came as a shock to some shipbuilders Wednesday morning.

"We need our ships to protect our country," one worker said as walked inside the yard.

Northrop Grumman began running the Pascagoula yard in 2001. The company has 11,000 workers helping build warships here today. 

"It is hard to find jobs outside the gate out here. We'll need a job that is for sure," a shipbuilder said.

Under the company's new consolidation plan,  Louisiana's Avondale yard will shutdown in 2013. The company will then look for a buyer for Pascagoula, Gulfport and Newport News, Virginia yards.

Some local shipbuilders also say this move means more work and more pressure but the same pay, for now.

"That is true. And at the same time, it puts other people out of a job, and that is not right." 

Northrop Grumman officials say they have a number of strategic ideas to market the shipyards. Officials promise that south Mississippi's shipbuilding business will remain viable and sustainable, but workers just hope that's the truth. 

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