Hampton Roads shipyard workers react to looming sequestration cuts

Posted at 11:50 PM, Feb 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-19 23:50:05-05

With the new sequestration deadline just days away, the Navy is preparing for a possible $4 billion to $9 billion shortfall. That deficit could mean tens of thousands around Hampton roads could be laid off or lose their jobs. The thought is on everyone's mind.

"I know it’s coming and everybody is thinking the same thing, about what is going to happen to their job,” says Jerome Arrington, a contractor for the Navy."

"You try not to worry about it,” says Gloria Patterson, who is employed at Newport News Shipbuilding. “You try to put it in the Lord's hands, but it's always in the back of your mind."

Congressman Bobby Scott spoke to dozens in Newport News Tuesday night about how sequestration will affect them. He was optimistic that the automatic cuts will be delayed again. Even so, most can't help but worry about their future.

"I just thank God that I do have a job to go to,” Patterson says. “You know I try not to think about when that time comes when I don't have a job."

As everyone waits to see what will happen with Congress, workers have a message they want their elected officials to hear.

"I think they should try to put their efforts together instead of fighting between the Democrats and Republicans," says Lawrence Atkins, who depends on his wife's Department of Defense salary. "Just think about the little guy."

"We put them in office, so now it's time for them to work for us,” Patterson says.

Congressman Scott says the biggest problem with sequestration is that there is no credible solution right now, other than to make sure it is delayed again.


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