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Mystic Seaport layoffs are a loss for all

Thanks to David Collins for revealing the 2020 “layoffs” of 199 Mystic Seaport employees were permanent firings, not temporary furloughs, "Pandemic layoffs at Mystic Seaport were permanent," (May 6). I was particularly dismayed by Mr. Armstrong’s comment that the number should be 153, not 199, because some staff members “were working only occasionally and a small number of hours.” Who were these people who were so easily erased?

They were the semi-retired artisans who trained new interpreters and developed programs for Coast Guard cadets, adults and young “apprentices” from local schools. They were actors and production crew who returned every year to bring Lantern Light Tours to life. They were role-players who added authenticity to our Decoration Day observance, and musicians who performed around the world. They were full-time teachers and students, whose availability was limited to weekends.

Subtracting these staff members may make the “layoffs” more palatable – apparently firing 153 staff members is more acceptable than firing 199 – but Mr. Armstrong’s casual dismissal of their contributions to the Seaport should not go unchallenged. Their firings, and those of the majority of the professional interpretation staff, are not only a loss for visitors but for our community as well.

Catherine Deichmann

Mystic

 

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