Friday 13, 2005 is a day that will live in infamy for the Maine/NH seacoast area. As word was announced that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was on the BRAC list of bases to be closed, many were “shocked, in disbelief as disappointment, anger and grim determination were among the emotions Portsmouth Naval Shipyard employees expressed during the yard’s Friday afternoon shift change“.
Jonathan Iverson told employees their Navy yard was one of the 33 bases included on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list.
Should Rumsfeld’s list remain unchanged, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard could close in two to six years.
When I heard the news of the shipyard’s closure being on the list I certainly could not say I was surprised. However, many that I had spoke to prior to the closure announcement seemed to be either in denial or in another world if they thought that only efficiency played a part in such decisions. Having friends and knowing others I was sad for them that they would be out of a job but then I thought to myself. I do not remember any protests or media crusades to save mine and thousands of others jobs when WANG and then IBM were downsized in the 80′s & 90′s. Where was the outrage locally in the seacoast community when Tyco employee either lost their jobs or were given in option to transfer to New Jersey?
Unfortunately this is a part of employment life in the 21st century. Those of us in the private sector have had to deal with it and either forced to find another job in our field, retrain ourselves to other positions or follow the employment to other regions of the country. This also is the task in front of those at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
About 20 dignitaries from two states gathered at Kittery Town Hall on Friday morning for a formal press conference reacting to the news that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list.
Standing before a backdrop of yellow and black “Save Our Shipyard” signs, speaker after speaker took to the podium and demanded to know how this could have happened and what they are going to do about it.
Many of us have already faced this reality. The idea that one can live in the same area and maintain the same job at the same location is insane. That is the only problem I seem to have with the reaction of those that work at the shipyard. Yes, I think its a tough blow that was given to them, but all of us have faces it in the past and did not have the backing of the MSM to do our bidding to save our jobs. I do wish them the best in accomplishing the task of saving their jobs and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, but every one of those 4000 employees must realize it is primarily their responsibility to do so and no one else’s.
More to come …