WASHINGTON, July 21, 2020 – As a strike of 4,300 IAM Local S6 members in Bath, Maine enters the fifth week, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is asking the U.S. Navy to shed some light on Bath Iron Works’ claims that the Navy has requested additional subcontracting at the shipyard.
Throughout negotiations with IAM Local S6, Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, has on numerous occasions said that the Navy has endorsed additional subcontracting at Bath Iron Works.
The IAM has countered with proposals to shorten the joint union-company review period for subcontracting and for Local S6 members to work more overtime to meet the Navy’s schedule. BIW management has instead remained insistent that the company has a blank check to subcontract work at the shipyard to out-of-state workers.
“It is unclear to the union whether these statements made by representatives of BIW accurately reflect the Navy’s position regarding the increased use of subcontracting and removal of the union’s valuable input form the outsourcing decision-making process,” wrote IAM Local S6 President Chris Wiers in a July 17 letter to Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite. “We strongly believe the changes in subcontracting language which the company is pushing for will be detrimental to the skilled workforce at BIW and the Navy’s shipbuilding mission.”
The IAM cites numerous implicit and explicit communications between the company and the negotiating committee in which BIW claims the Navy is pushing for additional subcontracting. BIW also claimed the Navy supported more subcontracting at the shipyard in a June 11 letter to U.S. Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree.
“As a U.S. Navy veteran, I could not be more proud of our Local S6 membership for the work they do to support our servicemen and women,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “This company should be listening to its employees about how to solve problems at the shipyard, not trying to outsource their jobs during the middle of a pandemic.”
BIW has attempted to break the strike by calling in temporary workers to build U.S. Navy ships and ended health insurance for 4,300 IAM Local S6 families.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airlines, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care, and other industries. For more information, visit goIAM.org.