Avondale Save Our Shipyard Campaign

In July 2010, Avondale Shipyard owner Northrup-Grumman announced that Avondale would be closed by the end of the year, moving all operations to Pascagoula, Mississippi. In September 2010, the Avondale workers launched the Save Our Shipyard campaign.

The Avondale SOS campaign seeks to lobby elected officials to find a solution to keep the yard open. The combined efforts of the campaign, politicians, the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department, business leaders, and the US Navy have delayed closure until 2013. They also helped to advocate against a $214 million tax loophole that would have been paid out to Huntington-Ingalls, the present owner of Avondale, to cover the costs of shutting down the shipyard. This removed another incentive for Huntington-Ingalls to close Avondale.

Generating community awareness involved both gaining media attention through radio and television coverage as well as outreach among individuals and local organizations. The Pray for Avondale weekend, conducted September 9-11, 2011, earned the endorsement of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans as well as the Episcopalian Diocese of Louisiana.

The Avondale Shipyard Research Project brought academics from the University of New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans, Tulane University, and Loyola University together to research the historic and current economic impact of Avondale on the community. Small businesses also expressed their support through a petition circulated to local, state, and national politicians' offices.

More than one thousand people, including workers, their family members, West Bank business owners, supporters, and politicians participated in an October 1, 2011 march and rally that ended on the steps of the U.S. District Court Building. The campaign seeks to keep Avondale functioning as a shipyard, but plans remain on track for closure in 2013. A couple of potential proposed uses for the shipyard proved not to be viable. Other possibilities include dividing the massive yard in order to accommodate a few smaller industries.

More information about the campaign can be found at the Avondale Shipyard Online Exhibit and Archive:

http://www.nolacitymuseum.org/exhibits/show/avondale/avondalehistory

Video

Darlene Davis, Avondale Rigger, 15 seconds
Courtesy of Nick Unger
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Audio

Zoe Sullivan on Avondale Shipyard
Zoe Sullivan is an independent radio producer and reporter based in New Orleans. She produced this audio segment for National Public Radio affiliate WWNO, which aired her August 2010 report on the possible closure of Avondale Shipyard. The report...
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