Choppy Water for Ship Repair Workers in Budget Crisis

February 18, 2013

Tom Taylor has trouble sleeping most nights because he worries about what might happen to the 100-plus employees at his ship repair business.

"If all these cuts come, I could be down to as low as 15 or 20 people," said Taylor, whose MF&B Marine in Chesapeake is near the private Elizabeth River shipyards that work on Navy vessels.

"The hardest for me - being a small business - is the employees are also friends. They hear stuff on the news. The problem of this is I don't know what to tell them.

"It's tearing at me," he said. "I've never laid off a person in all the years of doing this."

Taylor's angst is shared throughout Hampton Roads by scores of business operators and thousands of skilled workers as they wait to see whether the Navy will lock in place plans to cancel or delay billions of dollars' worth of ship maintenance and construction projects.

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