Thanks for the coffee Freddy...
I forgot how crazy the shipyard is until I went back to work for a week. I am a welder by trade, but they called me back up from lay off to be a Shipfitter for 30 days. That was better then lay-off, so I took it. Three days into it, they offered me a job as a full time Shipfitter, so wanting to work past 30 days, I took that, even though it was a $3 cut in pay over my former rate. Two days later they called me up and said they were recalling the welders. That left me in a conundrum, because as a Shipfitter I had 40 people under me in seniority, but as a welder I have very few.
Ultimately I went back to my core trade of welding. The pay is better then shipfitting, but it really had to do with bringing your trade outside the shipyard. Inside the shipyard, a Shipfitter is a Shipfitter, but outside they are called laborers since all they do is install steel plates and grind. A welder is a welder no matter where you and the welders at BIW have a good reputation so you can get a job welding just about anywhere. I did like shipfitting as you had to use your brain to figure out problems, but welding is all skill and it is nice to use that skill to build a ship that could conceivable see battle or take on 50 foot waves.
Either way, everyone is back from lay off and with so many ships to build, the hiring frenzy will commence. They are saying in the next few months they will hire another 720 people for various trades due to work load and an aging workforce that is retiring. With that many people, hopefully they will start up their third shift again as I made more money on that ship and saw the wife and kids a lot more too.
Here is a cool video of a couple of cranes picking up a 900 ton deckhouse of one of our Destroyers just to give you an inside view of what we do.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0EiN5lBN9s