|Shoulder to shoulder for the opening round of IAM contract negotiations with Bath Iron Works in Freeport, ME. (left to right) Eastern Territory Chief of Staff Brian Bryant, Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., District 4 DBR Joe Flanders, International President Tom Buffenbarger, Chief of Staff to the International President Diane Babineaux.|
International President Tom Buffenbarger and Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. joined District 4 and the Local S6 Negotiating Committee this week in Freeport, ME, for the opening round of contract talks with Bath Iron Works (BIW). The current IAM contract with BIW expires on May 20 and covers approximately 3,100 fitters, welders, painters, mechanics, electricians and others.
District 4 DBR and Chief Negotiator Joe Flanders kicked off the negotiations expressing confidence that both sides possessed the tools and the wisdom to reach an agreement that is worthy of the highly-skilled workforce at BIW.
“We’ve been here before. We know what matters to our members,” said Flanders, who has participated in multiple negotiations. “This process gives us the opportunity to vigorously address their concerns while giving the company the ability to benefit from a stable and secure workforce.”
President Buffenbarger pledged to fully support the work of the bargaining committee, with the resources of the Winpisinger Center and expertise of various IAM departments, from legal and political to financial and communications.
“The outcome of these negotiations will be closely followed by every member in every sector of our union,” said Buffenbarger. “We all have an interest in protecting the pay, pensions and job security for workers at this legendary shipyard.”
The negotiations take place in the shadow of hard financial times and the prospect of additional pressure on military budgets.
“Given the difficult times in which America finds itself, preserving skilled jobs in this manufacturing sector is more important than ever,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “The thousands of men and women who work in these yards are among the best craftsmen in the world. These jobs build and grow communities, something that cannot be overlooked in these tough economic times.”
Members of Local S-6 are scheduled to cast ballots on May 20 at the Augusta Civic Center on the company’s “last, best and final” offer.