Over 100 Guam Shipyard staffers laid off - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Over 100 Guam Shipyard staffers laid off

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - More than 100 employees at the Guam Shipyard reported to work on Tuesday expecting to work as usual, but within hours they learned they were being laid off effective immediately.  This is more on the largest layoff of workers in recent months.

 Junior Ascunsion has been a rigger with the Guam Shipyard for close to a decade, saying, "I feel kind of bad because we just lost our job." Now he and fellow rigger, Romeo Dela Paz - who has spent 12 years with the shipyard - are looking for a Plan B. "So everybody got shocked, especially me. I'm renting a house, I got a new car, what are we going to do?" he asked.

It's a situation more than 150 employees at the Shipyard are facing with the sudden terminations. Workers were informed in a letter from Guam Shipyard president and CEO Mathews Pothen. He informed employees that their employment was terminated effective immediately because the shipyard lost the contract for the Ship Repair Facility. De La Paz said he feels devastated, "like we are just like thrown like something disposal."

The One-Stop Career Center's Rapid Response Team held a presentation to help the displaced workers. Employment program administrator Karen Taitano said, "Which is a process for allowing the connection or reemployment of individuals who have been laid off and in this case mass layoff, so its important that we bring together all of our partnering agencies to bring as many resources as possible to those who have been affected."

Taitano adds while there may be a limited market for ship repair workers, the team is working with individuals to fully assess all their skills and refer them to over 100 jobs that may be a good fit. Repeated calls meanwhile were made to Guam Shipyard management but our messages were not returned.

We should add that according to DOL sources, the actual number could be higher because it does not account for H-2 workers as well. Sources add because the new contract to Cabras Marine Corporation hasn't been finalized, according to Navy regulations, they're given 60 days to transition and employees may not have needed to be laid off immediately. Sources further add that Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act otherwise known as "WARN" was not administered. According to the USDOL, warn offers protection to workers, their families and community by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plan closings and covered mass layoffs. Employers are covered by warn if they have 100 or more employees, not counting employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months. Regular federal, state and local government entities which provide public services are not covered under warn.

Meanwhile today's presentation is just one of the first of many services the agency for human resources and DOL plan to offer the laid off employees - a service Ascusion hopes will help in this time. "I got obligations. I need to take care of and this where I'm at I need to look for another job," he said.

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