I’ve been an “essential” employee at Bath Iron Works for over 30 years. Most employees, even though the “Best Shipbuilders in the world,” have not had a pay raise in eight years.

With COVID-19 already present at BIW, I’m very concerned for my co-workers, my family, my community and all the health care workers fighting this virus. How is BIW going to make our workplace safe? All work areas, in production, are very close and congested. With all the steel we work with, how long does the virus live on steel?

General Dynamics received federal tax breaks last year, and BIW received $45 million from the state of Maine.

If BIW does not further extend the unpaid leave, all employees will have to risk their jobs or their families’ safety. With no vanpool, carpool or remote parking transportation, where are all the workers going to park?

It’s hard for me to believe the Navy contract would penalize any company for circumstances out of their control. What did the Navy do for our competitor, in Mississippi, after Katrina? Let’s hope we are able to be safe.

John LaPointe

South Portland