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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

News Release April 4, 2000


In a floor speech today, Congressman Robert A. Underwood reiterated his call for a halt to the implementation of the Navy contract with Raytheon, pending the result of a Department of Defense Inspector General audit of the Navy’s outsourcing study in Guam.

The Congressman also again called for a General Accounting Office audit and for a hearing by the House Armed Services Committee on the privatization efforts on Guam.

"Mr. Speaker, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: outsourcing in an island economy doesn’t make sense," the Congressman said in his statement. "There’s no (military) readiness benefit. In fact, it is most likely the that this privatization effort will jeopardize both long and short term readiness."

Last Friday, Congressman Underwood and 28 other members, including Resources Chairman Don Young (R-Al) and Ranking Member George Miller (D-Ca), sent a letter to Deputy Defense Secretary Rudy De Leon calling for an immediate halt to the implementation of the Raytheon contract.

"We had to wait until the contract was actually implemented in order to take this action," Underwood said. "We asked for an immediate halt to the implementation of the contract until fairness can prevail in the amount of money that’s being offered to the workers who are being negatively affected by this downsizing.

"The salaries that are now being offered to the workers who are attempting to recover from this downsizing are simply unconscionable. In many instances, we have wages that are 50 percent of what they’re making today. And on top of that, they are being offered a 32-hour workweek. So if you’re an electrician and you’re making somewhere between $18 and $19 an hour today, next Monday, you’ll be doing the same job, perhaps with an increased workload, for only about $10 an hour and only for 32 hours," he added.

Congressman Underwood said the supposed "right for first refusal" has been rendered meaningless for those affected workers who have no other options. "It has not been a happy experience. I think the Navy has not done a good job of implementing this contract, or of treating the workers fairly in the request for proposal," he said, adding that he hopes to freeze the process until the questions surrounding the conduct of the A-76 study, the Navy’s preparation of the RFP, and the issue of fair wages under the right of first refusal are properly and thoroughly addressed.

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