December 18, 2015
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel Augusta
Augusta, Me – Workers at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine narrowly approved a four-year contract that includes a wage freeze and other concessions Dec. 13, believing it would give the company a better shot at landing a 20-year contract to build Coast Guard offshore patrol cutters.
Machinists Union Local S6, the yard’s largest union, voted 1,343-1,045 in favor of ratification. The deal substitutes $2,500 annual bonuses for raises, increases workers’ pension contributions and health-care deductibles and co-pays, and allows more jobs to be outsourced or done out of title. “Although it did pass by a narrow margin, the vote is in no way indicative of the feelings of the people. Only a few people were happy with the contract, but the majority were not,” said Local S6 President Jay Wadleigh. Management, which said it might have to lay off up to 1,200 workers if it didn’t get the Coast Guard deal, opened talks more than six months before the current contract expired in order to have an agreement before it bids on the cutters. Read more