‘For Our Future!’: IAM Local S6 Rallies for U.S. Shipbuilding Jobs

Holding sign, from left: IAM Local S6 Vice President Rich Nolan, Hardings Chief Steward Rob Jacobs, Bath Chief Steward Don Bowen, and Local S6 President Jay Wadleigh.

IAM Local S6 members flooded Washington Street in Bath, ME last week to march in solidarity for U.S. shipbuilding jobs. More than one thousand IAM members, family, other unions and representatives from the Maine AFL-CIO marched from the Bath Iron Works (BIW) south gate to the Local S6 Union Hall for a rally.

Shouting “For Our Future” and “Fred Go Home” – an allusion to BIW CEO Fred Harris – the rally took place one year and one day before their current contract expires. The march and rally was led by Local S6 President Jay Wadleigh and Local S6 leadership.

Over one thousand labor and community members joined IAM Local S6 in a rally to support U.S. shipbuilding jobs at Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME.

In April, BIW advised Local S6 of their intent to circumvent the collective bargaining agreement to implement hundreds of changes to workers’ jobs and tasks, to include a so-called cross training procedure. The issue was a subject of negotiations in 2000 and a subsequent strike in which IAM members prevailed.

“BIW is trying to gain outside of negotiations a subject of bargaining that these workers stood against, and won 15 years ago,” said IAM S6 President Jay Wadleigh. “Management filed for accelerated arbitration to get a decision outside of the negotiated and prescribed method, and they continue to violate other provisions they negotiated on a weekly basis. It’s the very definition of insanity. BIW continues to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.”

Local S6 will hold a “Solidarity Picnic” for members and their families on Saturday, June 6 as part of a series of ongoing events leading up to scheduled contract talks in April 2016.

“What a tremendous display of solidarity as we begin preparations for negotiations,” said District 4 Directing Business Representative Dave Sullivan. “Today these members – the best shipbuilders in the world – demonstrated they are aware of the issues, and they are watching BIW closely going forward. They demonstrated they won’t tolerate management’s attempts to rob them of contract language they stood and fought for more than a decade ago. My thanks to President Wadleigh, the S6 leadership and members for a job well done.”

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