Shipyard workers rally against furloughs, sequestration
Above, federal works hold signs during a rally in Prescott park in Portsmouth on Thursday. Below, Mark MacKenzie, president of the NH AFL-CIO, speaks to the frustrated workers. (GRETYL MACALASTER/Union Leader Correspondent)
About 40 workers gathered at Prescott Park on Thursday afternoon with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard at their backs to rally against sequestration and what they see as continued attacks on federal workers.
They spoke about the ripple effect furloughs and budget cuts at the shipyard have on the surrounding economy, including suppliers and contractors, local retail businesses and restaurants, and charities that benefit from various efforts at the shipyard that were curtailed as a result of the shutdown.
"Our message today is: 'Congress, find a better way,'" O'Connor said.
John Joyal of Somersworth started working at the shipyard 37 years ago when he was just 18 years old.
Joyal was furloughed for the first time in his life when the government shutdown, but said he was lucky it only lasted four days. Although he could have retired two years ago, with a son in college and two daughters at home, he said he can't afford to.
He said they have not even started dealing with next year's budget, and right now are focused on January.
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