About 2,000 civilian workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard were sent home on Tuesday morning because of the federal government shutdown.
Slightly more than a third of the naval facility's 4,700 workers were furloughed.
Chris Rogan, who serves as secretary for the Metal Trades Council, said "a lot of our workers were furloughed this morning."
Rogan said he did not have an exact number, but indicated that a majority of the shipyard's 4,700-member workforce, or more than half of the workforce, was affected.
According to Rogan, Paul O'Connor, president of the shipyard's workers' union, was still meeting with the PNSY commander on Tuesday. Workers received the news they had dreaded would come shortly after they arrived for work on Tuesday morning, Rogan said.
Attempts to reach O'Connor for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful. Earlier this spring, shipyard union officials were able to avoid furloughs when sequestration went into effect.
Navy Vice Admiral Bill Moran, chief of Naval personnel, wrote on the "Navy Life" blog on Tuesday, "We had hoped to avoid this scenario and further hope that it will be short lived. Wanting to get back to normal operations as quick as possible."
Also on Tuesday, WMUR reported that the New Hampshire Air National Guard announced it would have to furlough 450 military technicians and civilian workers because of the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.