Bath Iron Works Union Sends Letter to Navy Secretary, Ready to Meet Mediator

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Striking shipbuilders Bath Iron Works
Striking shipbuilders pause their march to allow a truck to enter Bath Iron Works, Monday, June 22, 2020, in Bath, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

BATH, Maine — The union representing striking production workers at Bath Iron Works will meet with a federal mediator again on Tuesday.

The Machinists union also have written to Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite to clarify whether the Navy endorses the use of subcontractors, a key point of contention between the company and its production workers.

Machinists Local S6 President Chris Wiers contends the shipyard has portrayed the Navy as backing the company's subcontracting.

Workers went on strike June 22 in a dispute that focuses more on subcontracting, work rules and seniority than on wages and benefits. The company proposed annual 3% raises over three years.

The company contends its aim is to streamline the hiring of subcontractors. Subcontractors were already allowed under the old contract.

More subcontractors are needed despite the hiring of 1,800 workers last year and another 1,000 workers this year because the shipyard has fallen behind on the delivery of ships, the company said.

Bath Iron Works and Machinists' Local S6 have not engaged in face-to-face negotiations since the strike began.

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