IAM Shipbuilders, Federal Workers See Gains in Spending Bill

A $100 million allocation for a fifth DDG-51 destroyer at Bath Iron Works (BIW) and a one percent pay raise for blue-collar NFFE-IAM and other federal members were among the spending items included in a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill passed in the House and Senate last week.

The legislation prevented another government shutdown by funding the federal government through the end of September.

Funding for the fifth destroyer is welcome news for IAM District 4, Local S6 members in Bath, ME. In June, the Department of Defense awarded contracts for four Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers to BIW, with the option for a fifth. But in March 2013, $300 million were cut due to sequestration.

The $100 million in the omnibus allows the shipyard to begin work on the hull, while Maine congressional members work to secure the remaining $200 million.

“We are pleased that Congress was able to come to this fair, bi-partisan agreement to secure an additional  $100 million to procure the fifth DDG-51 destroyer at Bath Iron Works,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn Tucker, Jr. “This funding is critical to maintain the Navy’s readiness  and  securing good jobs that build and grow communities. The thousands of men and women who work in the Bath shipyard are among the best craftspeople in the world.”

On Jan. 1, 2014, a one percent across-the-board pay adjustment went into effect for white-collar General Schedule (GS) federal employees. While the modest pay bump was good news following a three-year pay freeze, there was one big problem: Congress forgot about blue-collar Wage Grade (WG) federal workers when they passed their budget bill and headed home for the holidays.
A weeklong barrage of NFFE-IAM members advocating for their wage-grade federal brothers and sisters paid off, says NFFE National President William R. Dougan.

“We are pleased that members of Congress recognize the hard work of wage-grade federal employees and seek to provide the same pay adjustment that General Schedule federal employees received in 2014,” said Dougan. “Freezing pay for blue-collar workers for yet another year while white-collar federal workers got a pay adjustment wouldn’t have been right. It is good to see Congress act in bipartisan fashion to do the right thing for blue-collar federal employees.”