On September 15, 1939, the U.S. Maritime Commission awards a $10.4 million contract to Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding and Todd's Seattle Dry Docks, Inc. for construction of five ships. The 12,000-ton displacement vessels will be built in Tacoma and then towed to Seattle for outfitting.
As part of the contract negotiations, Seattle and Tacoma labor unions agreed to a base wage of $1.05 an hour, 10 cents less than the standard scale at the time. The contract was expected to employ 3,500 workers at the two locations. The ships will be the first built on Puget Sound "in many years." The U. S. Navy planned to participate in the construction because as government property, they might serve as auxiliary vessels in time of war.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 16, 1939, p. 1.
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