Shipyard management stands by decision

Management at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard said position description changes for inspectors and test directors in the crane department were necessary with or without the merger of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

That claim is being disputed by the Planners-Estimators, Progressmen and Schedulers Local 6, which represents workers in the shipyard who were affected by the changes, and has filed an unfair labor practice charge against shipyard management.

“It was discovered that there crane inspectors in the combined command who had different position descriptions and pay for the same work,” said Patricia Hubler, public affairs specialist for the PSNS and IMF.

The new position description was written that captured the changes taken place over several year period, she said.

“The duties of the crane inspectors at the shipyard had changed over the years and had resulted in a significantly out of date position description,” she said.

The changes provide a position description that accurately reflects the duties and responsibilities of personnel performing inspections and tests on weight handling equipment, she said.

“The revision provides for a more flexible work force, one that should be able to perform more efficiently,” she said.

She said the Shipyard followed all required notification procedures and has actively involved the labor organizations throughout the process.

“The union’s bargaining proposal could not be implemented,” she said.

“Management has taken significant steps to mitigate the impact on affected employees in accordance with federal regulations.”

These actions mean that there is no immediate reduction in pay for those employees affected by the reclassification, she said.

“Discussions with the labor organization continue,” she said. “This will not impact our willingness to negotiate with the labor organizations in the future.”

A team was tasked in May 2003 to make recommendations on how to best support the weight handling needs in the region and consisted of management and all affected labor organizations, she said.

“In September 2003 a consensus was reached by the committee that the region would be best served by a single weight handling equipment provider and forwarded to NAVSEA for recommendation,” she said.

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