Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Let's See Big Navy Wiggle Out of This One

When the Submarine Force decided to "privatize" submarine repair efforts, they frequently cited "evidence" that showed that one shipyard worker could do as much work as three Sailors. In some cases that's true -- there was this one hydraulics guy at EB who could fix things faster than any thirty Sailors. One the other hand, I really didn't see the EB painter/cleaners setting any land-speed records (unless it was for getting off the boat for a break or at the end of shift).
Anyway, it looks like Sen. Dodd has called them on it. In this article from The New London Day (another copy found here, third article down), Sen. Dodd says:

"Now the Navy contends that it can save money by having sailors replace the EB workers at shipyards in Norfolk, Va., and Kings Bay, Ga., if the Naval Submarine Base is closed, said U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., at a meeting Monday with local business leaders.
“The Navy found that one Electric Boat worker can do as much work as three sailors — that was the rationale for giving EB the contract in the first place,” Dodd said. “If the work is transferred to Kings Bay, it is going to cost the country more money, not less.”
"The Navy has said that the average EB employee working at the base has almost a quarter-century of experience and so is more productive than sailors who often are learning on the job. In addition, the Navy has said EB employees don't have all the military duties of a sailor, which can take up a large portion of the work week.
"Dodd questioned the Navy's estimate that can eliminate 1,500 military positions, about one in four of the jobs in Groton, if it consolidates operations down South, “a claim that has never been adequately explained by the Defense Department.”


You can twist statistics any way you like, but if you have some smart people looking at it, it becomes tough to explain yourself. Or maybe it's just that Norfolk- and Kings Bay-based Sailors work harder than Groton-based Sailors -- let's see if that flies.

Going deep...

3 Comments:

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

D'oh, you beat me to the post. I applaud Dodd for making the point. There are a lot of contradictions that need to be pointed out in the Navy's recent cost-cutting efforts.

The only thing that is worrisome in the article, that both NAVSEA and contractors like EB are having to come to grips with, is the fact that "The Average EB employee working at the base has almost a quarter-century of experience," meaning, a lot are really close to retirement. Yeah, the average for NAVSEA engineers and techs is about 5 years from retirement. Big contractors are the same way. We just haven't been able to recruit youth to replace these guys, and we need young guys -now- to get trained up before the old farts retire. Hopefully we won't have to replace EB workers with sailors just due to lack of workers.

6/28/2005 9:38 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

You should post anyway... As far as bringing in new guys, one of the guys working on the Carter in the Test shop was one of my A-gangers off the Connecticut, and one of my RO's from the 22 got hired as a nuke STE there; however, I think that in both cases, the guys got out before EB would even talk to them about a job...

6/28/2005 11:55 AM

 
Anonymous JClark said...

I'm one of those old farts. I've been in the shipbuilding, repair, and conversion business since 1971. Back then, a shipyard understood that skilled workers were a prime resource, and took pains to train them. Since the late 80s, shipyards for the most part, quit doing this, believing that there was a glut of skilled labor in the market. In just the past five years however, both contractors and the Navy have begun to realize that the "industrial base", read, us nasty, ugly, sweating, dirty, profane, and according to Tom Clancy, drunken shipyard workers are fast becoming a dying breed...and they are right on the money.

The median age where I work at, based on what I see, is in the middle 40's...and getting older by the day. See, the sad fact is, that this is tough, dirty, hard work, and you usually get burned and banged up most every day. Most kids wouldn't do this kind of work on a bet...they'd rather be computer programmers or pocking lawyers. And the Navy, from what I gather, has decided to pretty much leave real repair and conversion to the contractors...at least, from the dockside, it looks like that to me. I don't see sailors doing anything besides band-aid something.

What are you going to do? Beats the hell out of me. You guys in the Navy don't have Repair Divs any more, and you sure don't have the billets for them on the likes of them on something like DD(X)And the shipyards still don't have a system to recruit and train new employees. Most of us old farts are seriously hoping to retire before we have to deal with the problem.

In this business for 34 years, and getting older by the day....

6/29/2005 6:14 PM

 

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