Critical work continues in Fincantieri’s Wisconsin shipyards

 Inside Fincantieri Marinette Marine in November 2019. (WLUC Photo)
Inside Fincantieri Marinette Marine in November 2019. (WLUC Photo) (WLUC)
Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 5:15 PM EDT
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As the COVID-19 virus impacts the lives of nearly every American and across much of the world, Fincantieri’s Wisconsin shipyards continue their important work in support of America’s critical infrastructure.

Several state governors, including Wisconsin’s Tony Evers and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, recently announced ‘stay-at-home’ orders, requiring most to remain in homes or where they live. These orders also stipulate that those in critical infrastructure are expected to continue working. Fincantieri Marine Group, consisting of Marinette Marine, Bay Shipbuilding, and Ace Marine fall into the critical manufacturing and defense industrial base sectors of protected work.

The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and the Navy have communicated to Fincantieri leaders that the work they are contracted to do is vital to the nation’s economic and national security, and there is an expectation of continued operations.

Fincantieri leaders continue to reinforce prevention efforts to protect employees, but are thankful that the criticality of the work done in Sturgeon Bay, Marinette and Green Bay means that employees and their families will be fortunate to work and earn paychecks as they weather this pandemic.

“We want all of our men and women, their families, and our suppliers and partners to be mindful of guidance from the CDC and state health authorities as to how to protect themselves, and we will continue to treat this with the great diligence,” said Dario Deste, CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group. “We will take every precaution as we uphold our obligation to our commercial, military and government leaders.”

Leaders at the two largest Fincantieri shipyards have instituted many changes to prevent the spread of the virus, such as multiple daily cleanings of high traffic areas, social distancing throughout the facilities, prohibiting nearly all travel, detailed screening of all visitors and deliveries, and using remote and shift work when possible.

“The Sturgeon Bay shipyard remains busy, working every day to get the commercial winter fleet ready to depart,” says Todd Thayse, FBS’s Vice President and General Manager. “The 12 commercial vessels in Sturgeon Bay for winter repairs are near completion and will depart later this month to begin hauling critical products like grain and coal.”

Keeping the workforce safe has been a challenge during the COVID pandemic, but Jan Allman, CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine, remains positive.

“Just as we have an obligation to the Navy, we have an obligation to our workforce. We will keep this yard as clean as we can, so that our teammates have the opportunity to keep working and earning for their families," Allman said. "We ask our employees to self-assess their health daily, and if they are not well, stay home. We have sick leave and other options should they become exposed or need to stay home.”

Thayse added, “We too have implemented numerous measures to try to maintain a safe, clean and healthy environment during these trying times.”

“We will get through this,” Deste said.