NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Thousands of people in Hampton Roads will be affected by the sequester. Jobs are on the line at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Newport News Shipbuilding.
Shipyard workers in Newport News told WAVY.com they're scared for their jobs and what it would mean for them if they are out of work.
"I'm 48 years-old," said Matthew Gladden, who has worked at the shipyard for six years. "Where am I going to get a job at my age? And I got a $200,000 dollar mortgage."
Gladden and his fellow shipworkers' lives could be changed depending on Congress' actions this week. If lawmakers can't pass a budget, there could be major cuts at Newport News Shipbuilding. Sterling White, a shipyard worker, says people are talking about what could happen.
"Their concerned," said White. "Everybody's concerned. But, it's the situation where we just all feel like it's out of our hands. We just have to let them handle the problem."
President Barack Obama's timely visit to the shipyard also has employees talking. Some said they didn't plan on paying attention to the President's speech.
"I don't even believe what he says [anyway], so I'm not really concerned about it," said Jeffrey Bailey, who works at the shipyard.
Other workers, like Erick Fitchett, said he hopes the President will restore some confidence in the situation.
"I hope he's coming with some nice stuff," said Fitchett. "To tell us some good stuff about this contract."
Fitchett, who has worked at the shipyard for 29 years, says he wants one thing from Congress at this point.
"Republican and the democrats will get together and go there and do what they have to do for the people," he said.
Even those who aren't in the military will feel an impact from the defense cuts. Some businesses are in the area specifically to serve the bases and shipyards. Jamestown Metal Marine Sales has a warehouse in Newport News. Manager, Jim Howard, tells WAVY.com he and his employees don't work at the shipyard, but rather, for the shipyard. His company provides materials for aircraft carriers and submarines.
"We're pretty big, so we can handle a little bit of it," said Howard about how the defense cuts will affect his company. "But, if it goes on too long, we could be out of a job here."
Howard says Jamestown Metal Marines Sales has contracts in place with the shipyard already. He says the cuts won't affect them right away.
"Six months to a year, we could definitely be feeling it then," said Howard.
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