Ingalls workers speak out on decision to close Gulfport facility - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ingalls workers speak out on decision to close Gulfport facility

Posted: Updated:
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The decision by Huntington Ingalls to close its Gulfport facility will impact hundreds of South Mississippians.

The shipyard specializes in making key components for ships from a man-made composite material. Last month, the Navy decided to use steel instead of composite material. That means the Gulfport yard is no longer needed.

As workers of the shipyard left, Wednesday afternoon, after a long day of work, many wondered, will they still have a job?

"You're in shipbuilding for 22 years, you kind of get used to it and roll with the flow," said employee Buddy Dennis. "And if you get laid off, you get laid off."

Many employees feel confident they have jobs waiting for them at Huntington Ingalls in Pascagoula.

"I'll hopefully head back up there and still do the same type of job that I'm doing here," said Dennis.

"I am really not mad, not depressed, because I am a welder and I'm going back to Pascagoula. But I feel sorry for my co-workers," said Rafael Falla.

While Dennis and Falla aren't upset with the decision to close the shipyard, a man, who chose to remain anonymous, was outraged.

"Well, after this 7 O'Clock meeting this morning, we had our own little meeting and I spoke up and made a statement, 'The Navy is our customer. This is our tax dollars at work,'" said the anonymous employee.

"It's been a long relationship, it's been a good relationship," said Harrison County Development Commission Executive Director Bill Hessell. "Here's a decision that was out of our control that we couldn't do anything about and that's disappointing. You know, when you're trying to do everything you can and still it's not enough."

The facility is set to close by May of 2014, leaving 427 workers to find jobs elsewhere. Hessell said even though this is disappointing, it's been a long time coming.

"It wasn't shocking because we heard the rumors that this was going to be happening," said Hessell.

He said all that's left to do now is move on.

"I have already heard from a couple of companies in the shipbuilding business who want to know more about that facility," said Hessell.

"I either get moved back to Pascagoula, or they lay off all the contractors and I just go get another job," said the anonymous employee.

Hessell said his hope is that the employees who don't get transferred to the Jackson County yard can find jobs in Harrison County. He said another option is go to community college and be trained in a specific field for another position.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Two teens charged with Gulfport man's murder

    Two teens charged with Gulfport man's murder

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:00:30 GMT
    Two Gulfport teens are charged with murder after police say they shot Lamont Hayes in his home last week and left him to die.More >>
    Two Gulfport teens are charged with murder after police say they shot Lamont Hayes in his home last week and left him to die. Monday night, investigators tracked down Jalen Shaquille Williams, 19, and arrested him at his home. Rashad Rejohn Johnson, 17, was arrested Monday at the Harrison County Juvenile Detention Facility, where he was being held on an unrelated charge.More >>
  • Two more Singing River Health System clinics set to close

    Two more Singing River Health System clinics set to close

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:10 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:10:42 GMT
    Singing River Health System has announced the closure of two more primary care clinics as part of a realignment program. The Gautier and D'Iberville facilities will close August 29.
    More >>
    We will rebound. That's Singing River Health System CEO Kevin Holland's response to the announcement that two clinics are closing in South Mississippi. Those facilities are in Gautier and D'Iberville. Holland said it's also unfortunate that several people will lose their jobs because of the closings.More >>
  • Coroner: Gulfport murder victim was shot in the groin

    Coroner: Gulfport murder victim was shot in the groin

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:54:09 GMT
    According to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove, Lamont Hayes, 41, was shot in the groin area and bled to death just a few hours later Tuesday night.More >>
    An area of Gulfport still reeling from the brutal murder of a child last week was hit with another violent death Tuesday night. According to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove, Lamont Hayes, 41, was shot in the groin area and bled to death just a few hours later.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.