- Written by Terry Arthur
Shipyard President Mathews Pothen met with Cruz 1 day after Cruz said he plans on seeking a Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] probe into the H-2 hiring practices of Guam Shipyard and the Guam Department of Labor.
Cruz expressed concern after the layoff of 72 local workers from rival ship repair company Gulf-Copper. He questions whether the low wage H-2 hiring practices of the shipyard and others, have undercut companies like Gulf-Copper, leading to the layoffs of local workers.
Pothen has defended his hiring practices saying that only 45 of his more than 300 employees are H-2 workers and they are specialists who perform work that no local workers can do.
READ Guam Shipyard's release in FULL below:
The Guam Shipyard is a federal contractor and it provides ship repair and maintenance services for Navy and Military Sealift Command (“MSC”) ships home ported on Guam.
In addition, it supports all emergent work requirements for the U.S. Navy ships that are forward deployed in the Western pacific Region.
While maintaining its current workforce of 300 employees, for the past several months, the Guam Shipyard has issued vacancy announcements in search for qualified Welders, Shipfitters, and other ship repair production group trades to accomplish the Navy and MSC ship repair requirements including the repair and upgrade of the Floating Dry-dock “MACHINIST”.
Despite advance recruitment efforts and expanding the area of search beyond Guam to include the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, other U.S. Territories, and the Continental United States, recruitment efforts have failed to attract qualified U.S. citizens and those authorized to work in the United States.
Absent qualified U.S. citizen applicants and those authorized to work in the United States, the recruitment of temporary H-2B foreign workers from the Philippines is essential to fill the manpower labor shortages especially in the qualified Welders and Shipfitters trades for upgrading the floating Dry-dock “MACHINIST”. It is anticipated that a total of approximately 100 skilled Welders and Shipfitters are needed for the repairs and upgrades of the floating dry dock in order to obtain a commercial certification to lift ships weighing 35,000 long tons.
Guam Shipyard will continue to recruit local qualified workers first before any H-2B workers are employed. Guam Shipyard has provided quality ship repair services on time and under the allocated budget consistently in the past fifteen (15) years.
Interested applicants may contact the One Stop Career Center at (671) 475-7000 or the Guam Department of Labor (Guam Employment Service) at (671) 475-7010