HAGATNA, Guam (AP) Guam officials say about 220 workers of Guam Shipyard have been laid off after the private company lost its contract to repair vessels for the U.S. Navy.

Pacific Daily News reported Thursday local time (http://bit.ly/17uIO6U ) that the Navy recently awarded a $77 million ship repair contract to Cabras Marine.

The layoffs were confirmed in a letter to the Guam Department of Labor. Guam Shipyard officials did not return a call seeking comment from the newspaper.

Several dozen of the workers went to the labor department Wednesday to learn about new jobs, gaining skills or starting a small business.


The Agency for Human Resources Development plans to try to help the workers find jobs, an official said.

"These are very hardworking, dedicated employees," said Karen Taitano, a program administrator at the agency.

Taitano said many of the workers are highly skilled as welders, machinists and ship fitters. She said the agency and others have organized to help the workers look at their possible options.

About 70 of the workers are from foreign countries on temporary work visas, and will be required to go to their home countries. They aren't allowed to transfer to other employers, said Greg Massey, an administrator in Guam's labor department.

The rest of the employees were U.S. citizens.

Jose Quichocho, a 66-year-old ship fitter who sought help from the labor department, said he and his co-workers were told they were losing their jobs when they showed up for work on Tuesday.

"We were told we lost the contract and another (ship repair company) won the bid, so now we have to shut down," he said.

Quichocho, who had worked at Guam Shipyard nearly 40 years, said the company didn't mention severance pay or other financial assistance.



Information from: Pacific Daily News: http://www.guampdn.com