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December 9, 2015

BIW and union negotiators agree to proposed contract

File photo / Tim Greenway Bath Irons Works and negotiators with the largest union at the shipyard have tentatively agreed to a new contract.

Bath Iron Works and Local S6 of the Machinists union, the largest union at the shipyard, reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract proposal Tuesday night.

The proposed contract will be presented Sunday to the 3,600 members of Local S6 during a vote at the Augusta Civic Center. The current contract doesn’t expire until May, but the Navy shipyard requested early negotiations to put it in a better position to bid on a crucial U.S. Coast Guard contract in March.

The shipyard has warned workers that close to 1,200 of the approximately 5,700 employees could be laid off if it fails to land the estimated $10 billion Coast Guard cutters contract.

Local S6 President Jay Wadleigh told the Portland Press Herald that the union agreed to open negotiations last month in hopes of giving the shipyard a competitive advantage for the contract. He said both sides want the contract, but whether members will ratify the proposed contract is another question.

“It was a tough negotiation. There are some tough things in there,” Wadleigh told the Associated Press. “But it's a competitive environment, and it's up to members to decide whether they can swallow it or not.”

BIW will compete for the Coast Guard contract with Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Fla., and Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La. Bollinger beat out the Bath shipyard in 2008 for another Coast Guard contract worth up to $1.5 billion.

Read more

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BIW to begin labor negotiations early

Proposed BIW union contract faces resistance despite compromises

BIW to submit bid for $12.1B Coast Guard cutter program

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