Governor Janet Mills and Maine’s Congressional Delegation today renewed their call for the Department of Defense to take action to protect the health of shipyard employees in response to a second diagnosis of a BIW employee with COVID-19:
“We have repeatedly and clearly expressed to the Defense Department our concern for the health and safety of the hardworking men and women at Bath Iron Works and the stability of the defense industrial base in the face of the coronavirus. The Department’s response, in our estimation, has been inadequate. This new case only deepens our long-standing concern and hastens the need for the Department of Defense to provide much-needed flexibility so these shipyards can better safeguard the health and safety of their workforce. In addition, we urge the Navy to immediately provide guidelines to protect our nation’s large private shipyards similar to the guidance they issued to its four public shipyards. This guidance is needed to limit the potential exposure of shipyard workers to COVID-19 while maximizing the important national security work they perform.”
The Trump Administration has deemed Bath Iron Works and all other defense suppliers as essential businesses critical to the nation’s defense. Maine’s Congressional Delegation, supported by Governor Mills, sent a letter on March 19th to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Navy Acting Secretary Thomas B. Modly urging them to act to protect the health of shipyard employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Delegation and Governor Mills are asking Secretary Esper and Acting Secretary Modly to continue to:
Work to mitigate cash flow and other financial burdens that contractors and subcontractors may face, to include relief from contracting requirements that are uniquely impacted by COVID-19.
Take any actions possible to accelerate or advance payments or new contract obligations in order to provide immediate stability to the industrial base.
Clarify their planning and public guidance to ensure a stable industrial base while also ensuring the health and safety of the defense industrial base workforce.
Senators Collins and King hold seats on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, respectively. Congresswoman Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Congressman Golden is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
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