As most of Connecticut's communities are on red alert due to a rapid rise in Covid cases, so too are businesses, including Groton-based Electric Boat, which employs 12,000 in the state.
Since the onset of the coronavirus in March, more than 450 Electric Boat employees, companywide, have tested positive for COVID-19. Almost half of those cases have cropped up since November 1.
"It’s incredibly dangerous," said Peter Baker, President of the Metal Trades Council of New London County. "People are scared. These are terrible times."
Approximately roughly 3,000 tradesmen, theat work at EB in Groton are represented by that the Metal Trades Council. And, while the company has developed a program to allow more people to work from home, that certainly doesn’t apply to these folks.
"They are touch labor," Baker said. "It’s kinda hard to take a submarine cylinder home and weld on it."
With their type of work, social distancing is very difficult. But Baker says the company is doing an excellent job sanitizing. However, the employees remain concerned about contracting Covid and then losing pay.
"There are holes in the Heroes Act," Baker said. "It depends on the number of employees on whether you’re eligible for that or not and we were over that threshold."
And like many others he feels Congress needs to finally put together another relief package immediately.
"In the beginning of this, when you could file for unemployment and not only get your unemployment rate but an extra $600, people stayed out of work when they had to," Baker said.
The company believes most of the spread is as a result of employees contracting it in the community in which they live. Baker says in the shipyard there are clusters of people working.
"It is an assumption but it’s safe to assume in these cluster areas it’s being passed from worker to worker<" said Baker.
Electric Boat declined FOX61's interview request but sent along a statement highlighting the opportunity for employees to be tested on a regular basis and contact tracing the company is conducting.