San Francisco shipyard owners threatening to shut down due to dispute

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There's a battle between two shipyard operators, with 250 workers caught in the middle. (KGO-TV)

There's a battle between two shipyard operators, with 250 workers caught in the middle.

A dispute over the condition of the historic dry dock, the shipyard at San Francisco's Pier 70, has the new owners threatening to shut down. Mayor Ed Lee said on Thursday that his office is even trying to help broker a resolution.

Barry Thomas is among 250 employees at the Puglia San Francisco shipyard who don't know how much longer they'll have jobs.

"It's going to leave a lot of people homeless, it might leave a lot of people with no jobs. It's going to leave a lot of people a lot of heartache," Thomas said.

Ten days ago, the dry dock employees were notified they would be terminated as of February 26, a date that's now been extended to March 10.

"Now they're saying two more weeks. All we can do is play the game with them and that's the way it's been since day 1," he said.

At issue -- a dispute between Puglia, the shipyard's new owners, and the former owner BAE Systems.

Puglia bought the historic dry dock facilities in January but now claims BAE left the facilities in need of at least $25 million in dredging and deferred maintenance, a situation Puglia says violates the shipyard's lease with the Port of San Francisco.

In a statement, a port spokesperson said, "The port is working in earnest with all parties to keep the shipyard operational. At the end of the day, it's the duty of the operators to comply with the terms of the port's lease, which includes keeping the facility well-maintained and functioning."

"It has the ability to result in some disastrous impacts like losing jobs, we don't want that to happen," Mayor Ed Lee said.

"I'm hoping they can resolve this. I'm hoping that they can be a little more transparent with the employees," worker Juan Guardado said.

Neither Puglia or BAE officials have commented.

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