America’s nuclear submarines are all unionmade. When these vessels need repair, the U.S. Navy wants that work done by skilled union workers.

Working on the electrical systems in a nuclear submarine is a bit different from wiring switches in a home. Everything we do is critical to the operation of this complex vessel, especially when it is submerged thousands of feet below the surface. The lives of the sailors on this vessel depend on me. I’m reminded of that responsibility every working day.

I’m also president of the Portsmouth Metal Trades Council—the umbrella organization negotiating for all the unions in this yard. We’re federal workers, the very same folks targeted for pay freezes and a possible shutdown.

All the men and women I work with are proud of the work we do keeping America safe, and we’re proud to be union members.