NORFOLK--The head of Hampton Roads consortium of private shipyards and suppliers is calling continuing chatter in Washington regarding impending defense cuts 'concerning.'

Bill Crow, president of Virginia Ship Repair Association, Inc., says the 253 companies and 40,000 workers his group represents are worried about the possibility of drastic sequestration reductions. The Chief of Naval Operations recently announced that $271 million in local Navy ship repairs may be eliminated over the coming eight months.

'They're concerned. I think their biggest concern is that they take great pride in what they do,' said Crow. 'Our ship repair industry is second to none as far as I'm concerned. Our workers, these people that are in those places, are very patriotic. They love their country and they want to see their Navy maintained at maximum readiness.'

Fourth District Representative Randy Forbes said he's heard several of the shipyards may notify employees as early as this week that some reductions could be imminent.

Crow, citing the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act, agreed it's a distinct possibility local workers could be notified in the near future.

'The Department of Labor requires that you go out 60 days in regards to the fact that you think you may have to furlough, lay-off or eliminate people from your payroll or your work force, and yes that is something that needs to happen,' said Crow.

'Our different association member companies will have to do that. They should do it at the 60-day point, which if the occurrence is going to happen, February 15th, I would think that might be the time they might be sending those notifications out to the workers that they've identified,' Crow said.

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