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Union Head Blames Tea Party for Shipyard Furloughs

Paul O'Connor says additional furloughs could be coming.

Paul O'Connor, president of the Metal Trades Council at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, particpates in a rally against sequestration last spring. On Tuesday, O'Connor blamed the Tea Party for the federal government shutdown. Credit: Robert Cook
Paul O'Connor, president of the Metal Trades Council at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, particpates in a rally against sequestration last spring. On Tuesday, O'Connor blamed the Tea Party for the federal government shutdown. Credit: Robert Cook
Tuesday was a difficult day for Paul O'Connor and the 2,000 Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers who were furloughed after the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.

"That (furlough) number is fluid and will remain fluid as the shutdown continues," said O'Connor, who serves as president of the Metal Trades Council. "There may be additional furloughs. But I don't have any concrete data about who or when."

The shipyard workers learned Tuesday morning after they reported for work they would be furloughed after Congress failed to avert the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.

O'Connor blames the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner for allowing the shutdown to happen.

Since 2010, O'Connor said Tea Party members have attacked federal employees and union members.

"We've had to endure vitriol from the Tea Party people and their hatred for federal employees," said O'Connor.

He said he spoke with shipyard commander Navy Capt. William Greene on Tuesday about how the shipyard will proceed to try and maintain the current workload of submarine overhauls.

"We can throw our schedules out the window right now," along with millions of dollars, O'Connor said.

He is also not optimistic the furloughs will be short-term given the current state of political gridlock in Washington.

While he said he understands why Republican lawmakers are trying to stop the Affordable Care Act, he said it doesn't mean Republicans have the right to "hold the nation hostage."

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard website's home page has some links to give furloughed workers information they need. O'Connor said furloughed workers are eligible for unemployment compensation one week after they are furloughed.
Stephen D. Clark October 01, 2013 at 06:01 PM
We've heard all the talking points: "Government can't do anything right." "Paying taxes is a waste of money." "You should be trading in gold dust instead of government printed money." ******************************************************** Tea partiers have no problem with a government shutdown because they don't believe in government in the first place. "Government can't do anything right. Vote for us and we'll prove it!" Tea party Republicans openly campaign on a platform of government sabotage. They're getting their way with this shutdown. If it hurts government workers, so much the better from their point of view. ******************************************************** What the tea partiers in Congress can't do through straightforward legislation, they'll try to accomplish with extortion. They're the ones putting poison pills about Obamacare into the continuing resolution to fund the government. ******************************************************** It's not like they don't know that the Senate and the White House won't go along with their plan, but they're doing it anyway just to prove a point no matter who suffers.
W.Gene Keirsey October 01, 2013 at 06:18 PM
During my 81 years I have seen a lot of inept Presidents but the one we have now tops the list. And I agree with Jerry Mc Kenna we can thank the unions for this. The Obamacare law was passed by the Democrats and no one bothered to read it and now with all the things they are seeing they don't know how to get out of it and still save face. It was never a law only a blueprint so the Health Sec. could write in what she or he wanted or was told to put in it. So don't blame the Tea Party folks for trying to fix it.
Roger Womack October 01, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Gee and the unions don't even like obamacare or democare !
Liz Pierce October 01, 2013 at 08:50 PM
of course they do. but the captain (president) of the ship (country) sets the tone for the ship. all we are seeing emanates from him. the buck stops with him.
Proud Conservative October 01, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Unions have become irrelevant. No one listens to them.
Pete Gonzalez October 01, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Since when did unions ever care about efficiency? Their objectives are to get as much as they can for as little work as possible. The only union people that make out are the thugs that run them, never the ones paying the dues
Frank Werker October 01, 2013 at 11:04 PM
If I were still a union steward (I retired at 67), I'd file a grievance for the laid off workers and demand to be made whole. I'd bet I could win that too. It astounds me how many people think Unions are what is wrong with this economy. They are either very, very rich or very, very stupid.
Annette Briski Ripley-Peach October 02, 2013 at 03:36 AM
My father was in the union and because of it he had a good job and got a pension which has enabled him to live comfortable in his old age. I live in a right to work state and you know what they are able to do, the boss certainly does not want his profit decreased so either the employees have to take days off or in one instance a doctor fired his employees and hired new ones at a cheaper rate of pay. So which is better and believe me my dad gave them hell a few times so that they would remember him.
Pete Truth @PeteTruth October 02, 2013 at 07:22 AM
Sometimes I wonder about the authors of these articles. How about presenting an American point of view and not Republican or Democrat. The Government is bloated and spending OUR money faster than they take it in. We are on the road to the total devastation of our economy and country. If you "Socialists" out there think things will be fine, just give it time and you will see. Good luck.
Steve Furbish October 02, 2013 at 07:33 AM
The entire US Congress has abandoned the art of negotiation and whichever party has the upper hand at any given time dictates what will be. The Tea Party conservatives is no more to blame than the Democrats who exempted their friends and themselves from the AHCA. A 1 year delay of the mandates is not unreasonable and I personally (as a retired union member) feel that all exemption should be removed or the law repealed. If you think the pain of furloughs for federal workers is bad now, wait until you have the government handling all or most of your healthcare issues. Talk about being held hostage!
Phil Collins October 02, 2013 at 08:32 AM
Only a wacko like this would blame one party it is all the Politician's fault period.
Fred H. Smith October 02, 2013 at 08:38 AM
The main fight is ove the issue of raising spending limits again.where do these people think we are going to get this money, unlike the private sector these people have the attitude of spend now,let someone else figure how to pay for it later...we, the taxpayers can not and in most cases do not live like this
Ann Marie Leoni October 02, 2013 at 09:13 AM
OMG you mean Bush is off the hook...cry baby unions pushed the agenda and now they are screwed
Kevin Kervick October 02, 2013 at 09:29 AM
Obama has chosen to take money from you and allocated it to Obamacare.
FOBESQ October 02, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Trillions for needless wars, but not one cent for health care!!!! (Tea party mantra)
FSHNT21 October 02, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Someone please explain to this idiot that Lord Harry and the Democrats in the Senate are the reason for the shutdown... The House legislation isn't asking anything different than what Obama capriciously decided to do with the Business Mandate so he could figure out how to appease his Corporate and Union contributors. If the Business Mandate can be delayed for a year and no one has a problem with that, why can't the Individual Mandate be delayed for the same period...? Are Individual American's less important than Corporations or Unions... ? Evidently the Democrats in the Senate and Obama think so... The TEA Party is a convenient excuse because they hold BOTH Party's responsible to the Constitution and we all know how much Obama and the Democrats hate that document. Put down the Kool Aid and call the Senate and the king and help them understand that what the House is asking for is nothing different than what they've already done. What's good for the goose is good for the gander...
Clement Sea October 02, 2013 at 11:43 AM
Obamacare will have the unintended consequence of causing employers to cut their staffing hours to less than 30 hours per employee to avoid mandates. The unions give lip service to the nations workers, but when you really look at their interests they really only support union workers. The US Government is a business. It is outspending its income. Downsizing, furloughs, and other employee heartaches are the product of a broken business model.
Proud Conservative October 02, 2013 at 12:27 PM
There is nothing............absolutely nothing in the Constitution that even remotely suggests the government is responsible for providing citizens health care. Nor is there anything in the Constitution that suggests the government has the power to require any of the citizens buy anything. If you believe there is, then post the quote here.
Steve Furbish October 02, 2013 at 07:25 PM
@ Mr Frank Oliver Biddle - that is not the Tea Party Mantra. It's an assertion that the media and the overly PC folks attribute to them. I don't know about you, but I've spent plenty on health insurance over the past 40 years to provide a degree of security for myself and my family. In the past year and a half my premiums have gone up almost 20% which represents the largest single increase in my entire working career. Just gearing up for the AHCA is frightening. I'm somewhat for REAL healthcare reform, but Obamacare is not reform but rather just a stepping stone to government controlled socialized medicine and will be the biggest government intrusion into our personal lives ever. The current democratic majority in the senate and their counterparts in the house are still spending too much on questionable wars and now wish to get into the health insurance business as well.
Stephen D. Clark October 03, 2013 at 06:45 AM
The tea party mantra is "less government is better government." ******************************************************** It's funny how angry it makes everyone else when the tea party gets its way. Less government means no national parks, no national museums, and no funding for important medical research. Less government means poor kids and poor elderly people don't get enough to eat. ******************************************************** What we're seeing now with the government contraction is only a fleeting glimpse what America would start to look like if it was strictly run by tea party principles.
Lincoln Dwyer October 21, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Look, "proud conservative', I can't even take you seriously if you're too chicken to show your face or your real name here. So, suck sand. Your own SCOTUS declared it legal, so again suck sand. ACA hasn't cause anyone trouble because it hasn't even been implemented yet, you nut-jobs (Cruz). Nothing like that has not even happened yet: Suck sand. If it were NOT for unions, ALL of you would be lower-class slaves, sucking sand, poor, your 5 year old kids would be working in factories (5am-11:30pm) literally beside YOU, probably being assaulted on their single 5 minute lunch break, and you'd be living (at cost) in the boss's swampland just downstream of a tannery in Seabrook -- and constantly sick -- living at the mercy of people like slum-lord Romney & Sons, Esquire: the rich guy whose obsession is being the Jefferson Davis of New Hampshire.
Lincoln Dwyer October 21, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Commentators here, truly misunderstand anything about history, nor where WE are now. Yet seek to persuade likewise unintelligent doofs to vote for things they completely don't understand is going to F**k them in the A** because they were so gullible to believe the anti-Lincoln Party (Republicans) was going to aid them -- whom they consider gristle under the wheels and the laughing-stock of their corporate profits.

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