Austal USA

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Austal USA
Type Subsidiary
Industry Shipbuilding
Founded 1999
Headquarters 100 Dunlap Drive
Mobile, Alabama, USA
Products Aluminium commercial and
defense vessels
Employees 3100+[1]
Parent Austal
Website www.austal.com

Austal USA is the American branch of operations for Australia-based shipbuilder Austal. The facility is based on Blakeley Island in Mobile, Alabama and employed more than 3100 workers in early 2012.[1][2][3] Due to expanded shipbuilding contracts from the United States Navy, the company announced in March 2012 that it planned to invest an additional $160 million in upgrades to its facilities and to increase its workforce to roughly 4000 employees in the next few years.[1]

Projects[edit]

The Alakai during sea trials in 2007 for Hawaii Superferry.

The company built the Lake Express for service across Lake Michigan, and the Alakai for Hawaii Superferry. Huakai, the second high-speed vehicle-passenger catamaran for Hawaii Superferry has been launched at Austal USA. At 113 meters (371 feet) long, the new vessel is 6 meters (20 feet) longer than the Alakai, thanks to a bi-fold ramp, added by Austal to its stern, for use in austere ports without shore-side loading facilities, making it suitable for military use. The National Geographic Channel series MegaStructures featured an episode in September 2007 that detailed the construction, launch, and sea trials of the Alakai, the first catamaran Hawaii Superferry.[4]

Austal USA is also currently constructing the Independence class of littoral combat ships for the United States Navy, based on a 127 m (417 ft) advanced trimaran seaframe, with one completed and a second under construction as of 2010.[5]

USS Independence (LCS-2) at the Austal USA shipyards along the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama.

It was announced on November 13, 2008 that Austal USA had won a U. S. Navy contract to build ten high-speed transport ships, known as the Spearhead class Joint High Speed Vessel. The design, with a catamaran seaframe, is drawn from the Austal-built MV Westpac Express. Unlike the Littoral Combat Ship, the Joint High Speed Vessel will be for transport, not combat.[2]

The bankruptcy of Hawaii Superferry, and the construction problems on their first Littoral Combat Ship reduced Austal's profit margin to only $9.2 million on revenue of $500 million in 2009.[6]

On July 22, 2010, Austal USA hosted a keel-laying ceremony at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama to signify the erection of the first modules on USAV Spearhead (JHSV 1), lead ship in the 10-ship Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program, The JHSV program has a potential worth of over $1.6 billion for the company.[7] On December 10, 2012, the navy awarded its final option under its current contract, and ordered JHSV-10.[8]

Legal[edit]

Unionizing efforts[edit]

Following complaints from the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association (SMWIA), Austal USA has twice been found to have engaged in unfair labor practices with respect to the organizing effort of unions by the National Labor Relations Board. Unionization had been rejected by employees in elections held in May 2002 and April 2008.[9] A third attempt in August 2011 was again rejected with a vote of 613 against unionization to 367 for it. The SMWIA filed a new complaint with the labor board after the result.[10]

Discrimination allegations[edit]

In March 2008, the company was sued by 22 employees for alleged racial discrimination and a hostile work environment.[11] The company was found not guilty in separate discrimination trials that culminated in October 2011 and January 2012. A request for a new discrimination trial was rejected in March 2012 by a federal court.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c April M., Havens (March 16, 2012). "Austal USA receives 2 more contracts to build littoral combat ships for Navy". Al.com. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Wilkinson, Kaija (November 13, 2008). "Austal in Mobile wins $1.6B Navy contract". Al.com. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Employment at Austal USA". "Austal Corporate Website". Retrieved December 3, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Austal-built Hawaii Superferry to Feature on National Geographic". "Austal Corporate Website". Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Austal Wins Second Littoral Combat Ship Order". "Austal Corporate Website". Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2007. 
  6. ^ FINANCE NEWS NETWORK INTERVIEW WITH AUSTAL LTD (ASX:ASB) CEO, BOB BROWNING
  7. ^ "Keel Laying Ceremony for Spearhead JHSV." Maritime News. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  8. ^ "Navy Exercises Tenth JHSV Construction Option.". Marine Log. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ Murtaugh, Dan. "Union gets third shot at Austal workers." Press-Register, June 5, 2011.
  10. ^ Murtaugh, Dan (August 17, 2011). "Austal union election result contested by Sheet Metal Workers". Press Register. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  11. ^ Murtaugh, Dan "Austal race claims must go to trial, federal judge rules." Press-Register, April 27, 2011.
  12. ^ Kirby, Brendan (March 26, 2012). "Judge denies request for new trial in Austal discrimination case". Press Register. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°41′32″N 88°01′59″W / 30.69214°N 88.03298°W / 30.69214; -88.03298