Legislation To Exempt Shipyards From Federal Hiring Freeze
US Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat of Hawaii and US Representative Derek Kilmer, a Democrat of Washington, introduced legislation that would exempt employees of Navy public shipyards and other employees that directly support the shipyards from President Trump’s federal hiring freeze.
Cosponsors of the Senate bill include Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, (D-N.H.), Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, and Maria Cantwell of Washington, all Democrats.
The Trump administration’s blanket hiring freeze is already impacting Navy shipyards, according to Schatz, including the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. The freeze prevents shipyards across the country from hiring engineers, acquisition workforce personnel, trade mechanics, radiological and emergency personnel, regulatory compliance and other support personnel that are necessary to maintaining the Navy’s surface and submarine fleets.
“The men and women at our public shipyards work to keep the Navy’s fleets at sea and keep America safe,” said Schatz. “Our shipyards already face workforce shortages and this hiring freeze will only worsen their ability to get our ships and submarines back out on deployment. Our bill will help reverse this and give Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and shipyards across the country the freedom to hire the people they need to support the Navy and its mission.”
“Our nation’s shipyards keep our nation safe and provide quality jobs to veterans and patriotic civilians,” said Kilmer. “Unfilled positions in our shipyards mean our ships and submarines spend more time in port and less time on mission. That’s why we are introducing legislation to ensure that shipyard workers and other critical defense employees are not impacted by President Trump’s move to freeze federal hiring.”
While the president’s executive order states that it does not apply to military personnel or positions considered essential to meet national security responsibilities, the lack of clarity has caused confusion at shipyards across the country. The legislation makes it clear that employees of the Navy public shipyards and those employees that directly support the shipyards are essential to national security and should not be subject to a hiring freeze that will negatively impact their mission-essential work.