Team works to get Guam Shipyard staffers back on their feet - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Team works to get Guam Shipyard staffers back on their feet

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's been over a week since over 150 Guam Shipyard employees were left without work following a massive layoff. And hope may be on the way as efforts continue to get these laid off employees back to work.

It was last week when the One-Stop Career Center's rapid response team held a presentation to help the displaced workers from the Guam Shipyard cope with the sudden layoffs and get back to work. "The rapid response is going to assist any of those affected by the layoff to reconnect with employment," said Karen Taitano. "We provide assistance with completing an application or resume, developing those interview skills." The AHRD employment program administrator noted that the efforts don't stop as another presentation was held this afternoon.

She says the goal is to ensure no on falls through the cracks in which AHRD is even preparing to work with partnering agencies such as Public Health, GHURA, and the Guam Behavior Health and Wellness Center. "This is a very emotional time for folks, not to mention the time of year it is and Mental Health has made all their services available to those individuals who are having a tough time coping with the circumstances."

But not all hope is lost as these employees skills and experience may be useful to Cabras Marine Corporation. "Cabras Marine gave us a notice that the job fair is this Saturday from 10am to 4pm. We certainly want our affected Shipyard employees to take full advantage for the openings available," she said.

As we reported, Guam Shipyard employees were terminated because the shipyard lost the contract for the ship repair facility to Cabras Marine. Cabras Marine management were unavailable for comment today but according to a release following the contract award, president Joseph Cruz says the company's priority is to hire local with local residents first in line. "These folks have such valuable skills and are so dedicated," he said.

And although it's unclear just how many jobs are available, there are at least 35 career opportunities from inspectors, riggers, machinist, and accountants. In the meantime, about 40 former Shipyard employees attended today's presentation in which Taitano says many continue to raise concern over whether their layoffs followed proper procedure.

"We have contacted our sister agency department of labor and we know that they will be looking into the concerns of the employees that the level of time given prior to effectuating the actual termination," he said.

DOL director Manny Cruz says the department is looking into whether any of the employees are entitled to severance pay. Additionally, DOL is researching whether the Guam Shipyard complied with the worker adjustment and retraining notification act otherwise known as warn that provides a 60-day notice to employees for mass layoffs. KUAM had made repeated calls to Guam Shipyard's president Mathews Pothen but have yet to receive a comment.

The job fair meanwhile is set for this weekend at the Guam Premier Outlets with another rapid response presentation for all Guam Shipyard employees next week Monday from 1-5pm at the GCIC Building. 

Meanwhile, KUAM has learned that the up to 150 laid off workers does not account for the H-2b workers at the Shipyard. According to the Alien Labor Processing and Certification Division at DOL, six H-2b workers were deported last week following the massive layoff with 46 shipfitters scheduled to depart next week. One machinist and one pipefitter from Kiribati meanwhile are pending travel arrangements. The division further notes that 16 U.S. worker welders will be recalled for work early next week with 16 H-2b welders set to be retained to complete ongoing unfinished work.

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