Rhode Island’s building trades unions attended the annual shareholders’ meeting of General Dynamics to protest what the unions consider to be a lack of hiring union workers and Rhode Island military for jobs building the expansion project at the Electric Boat submarine-building venue at Quonset Point in North Kingstown.
``Surprisingly, this defense contractor has not developed any programs to recruit, train, and hire local veterans for their construction work, which is substantial,’’ said Scott Duhamel, secretary-treasurer of the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council.
Rhode Island’s trade unions have been protesting the lack of hiring of union members and veterans for months now and have met with leading Rhode Island elected officials and representatives of Electric Boat. The company has estimated that about $30 million in construction projects will be necessary to accommodate new federal contracts to build submarines for the U.S. Military.
The trade unions assert that the project is behind schedule and that there have been accidents and safety violations and that most of the workers have not been Rhode Islanders. The unions also say that the workers have been paid poor wages without benefits.
The General Dynamics CEO, Phebe Novakovic, said the company would look into the union concerns.