Optimistic future for jobs at Avondale Shipyard - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Optimistic future for jobs at Avondale Shipyard

Jefferson Parish, La. - At Mo's Pizza in Westwego, business is good but owner Jeffrey Arcement says it used to be a whole lot better.

"During lunchtime, you couldn't get in here. Now, we're busy but not like it used to be when Avondale was here. I mean, Avondale is still here but I think they're down to about a thousand people," says Arcement.

Arcement says big changes at Avondale Shipyard took its toll on Mo's Pizza and a lot of business in the area.

In 2010, 3 thousand of its 5 thousand workers were laid off.

At the time, it's new owner, Huntington Ingalls moved ahead with plans to consolidate its workforce at its Pascagoula Mississippi yard.

It also announced plans to close Avondale by the end of this year.

"Their talk was getting out of the ship building business altogether and I think they've done that creatively because of how the corporation was formed. They spun off Huntington Ingalls and put the ship building business under Huntington, so it was their reasoning at the time for closing down Avondale," says Greg Larose.

Greg Larose with our partners at City Business says the Pascagoula Shipyard is booming, while work at Avondale has been on the decline.

Then in February, Huntington Ingalls made a big announcement, saying it would open up a new business development office in Houston to pursue opportunities in the energy infrastructure market.

"The big components that you would need to build whether it's production or delivery pipelines and such. I think they were gearing it towards the big increase in industrial construction that taps into the energy industry," says Larose.

Workers at Avondale, like Tony Veazey, are also being told they'll have a job moving forward.

"What we've heard is that they are going to open up a commercial yard and do commercial work like barges, tugboats and repairs, so it look like it's going to stay open and continue doing business," says Veazey.

Those workers who managed to remain at Avondale through all of the changes are feeling a sense of relief.

Arcement believes the future of Avondale will determine the future of his business and so many others.

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