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Nassco Workers Stage a 'Sickout'

February 16, 1988

About 47% of the union workers at the National Steel & Shipbuilding Co. did not show up for work Monday, a union official said. Robert Godinez, president of the Ironworkers Union--largest of seven unions at the shipyard--said that the "sickout" was not sanctioned by union officials.

"This was done entirely by the workers. We (the leadership) had nothing to do with it. The workers are fed up with Nassco's greed and wanted to protest," Godinez said.

Nassco and the unions are mired in a contract dispute. Shipyard employees have worked without a contract since Oct. 1 and have seen their wages cut between 17% and 56% by company officials.

When the cuts were instituted, a Nassco spokesman said that they were necessary to make the company competitive with other U.S. shipyards. But on Feb. 1 some salaried employees received merit increases of about 5%, said Nassco spokesman Fred Hallet.

Godinez said that Monday's "sickout" was "apparently" organized last week.

"The workers passed the word around, somehow. Someone printed a leaflet that listed some items including 'remember the 15th.' That's all it said. It wasn't all that elaborate. It wasn't signed by anyone. It just appeared in the yard," Godinez said.

Nassco officials could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

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