BATH, Maine — The largest union at Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works in Maine has overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract. This agreement comes as a relief, as it averts another strike like the one three years ago that led to significant delays in delivering ships.
Pay Increases and Benefits
The new contract, which will take effect on Monday, includes pay raises ranging from 2.6% to 9.6% in the first year. It's worth noting that some workers have already experienced a mid-contract wage adjustment. In the subsequent years, there will be a 5% increase in the second year and a 4% increase in the third year. Additionally, workers will receive increased contributions to their national pension plan, while health insurance costs are expected to rise.
Local S6 Union's Success
Machinists’ Union Local S6, representing approximately 4,200 production workers, has managed to secure the largest percentage pay raises since the union's establishment in the 1950s. The union expressed their gratitude to members for their support and votes. They vowed to continue advocating for their members' best interests and faithfully upholding the contract.
Bath Iron Works is also pleased with the new contract. The shipbuilding company looks forward to a period of labor stability and increased productivity as a result of this agreement.
Working Together to Deliver Ships on Time
In a recent statement, the company expressed its commitment to delivering the Navy's ships on time, ensuring the safety of our nation and our families. The company also expressed appreciation for the participation of its employees in the process. Training and implementation of the new elements of the contract are set to begin this week.
Union Approval and Positive Negotiations
Workers represented by the union showed overwhelming support for the pact, with 76% voting in favor through an online voting process. This process took place over the weekend, starting on Friday and concluding on Sunday afternoon.
Negotiations between the company and the union were characterized by a positive tone. Both parties agreed from the start not to reinstate subcontracting provisions that had previously triggered a strike in 2020 amidst the pandemic.
Smooth Contract Discussions
According to a union spokesperson, the contract discussions went smoothly, marking a significant difference from previous negotiations. Previous negotiations had experienced breakdowns, leading to a 63-day strike that further impacted construction backlogs at the shipyard.
Prior to the strike, the shipyard was already facing delays of over six months, and workers have been facing ongoing challenges since then. The company did not disclose the current average delay, as it varies from ship to ship.
Cautiously optimistic about the future, both the company and the union are looking forward to a collaborative effort in meeting ship construction deadlines.
General Dynamics: Leading the Way in Shipbuilding
General Dynamics, a subsidiary within the industry, holds a prominent position as one of the Navy's largest shipyards. Recognized for its expertise in constructing guided-missile destroyers, General Dynamics is an integral component of the Navy fleet. Notably, this company serves as a significant source of employment within the state, employing an impressive workforce of 6,700 individuals.