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December 10, 2015

Proposed BIW union contract faces resistance despite compromises

File Photo / Tim Greenway Fred Harris, president of Bath Iron Works, has said the shipyard needs to become more competitive on cost to win future contracts.
File photo / Tim Greenway A proposed contract between Bath Irons Works and the largest union at the shipyard is going to a vote Dec. 13.

The proposed four-year Bath Iron Works labor contract headed to a union vote Sunday does away with pay raises in favor of annual bonuses and includes provisions adding expanded tasks some workers must perform.

The Bath shipyard and negotiators with Local S6 of the Machinists union, the largest union at the shipyard, reached a tentative agreement on the proposed contract Tuesday night.

The Associated Press reported that the proposal includes compromises on the expansion of tasks outside workers’ specialties and the proposed outsourcing of some components to subcontractors, two of the most contentious issues.

Despite Jay Wadleigh, president of Machinists Union Local S6, saying that the proposal includes compromises on the most contentious points, he told the Bangor Daily New  he wouldn’t support it. Other workers’ reactions ranged from disappointed to angry.

“I was glad I was sitting down,” Jason Perry, an outside machinist from Limerick, told the BDN after learning the contract details. “It makes me physically sick to my stomach.”

The current contract doesn’t expire until May, but BIW initiated early negotiations to put it in a better position to bid on a crucial U.S. Coast Guard contract in March. The four-year contract that expires in May included pay increases of 8.25 percent over four years, according to the BDN.

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.

Read more

The future is now: BIW shipyard looks to cut costs to win major Coast Guard contract

BIW and union negotiators agree to proposed contract

BIW union approves contentious contract

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

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