Members of Local S6, the largest union at Bath Iron Works, begin to picket the company on Washington Street shortly after their contract ran out at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

BATH, Maine — Third-shift union employees at Bath Iron Works walked off the job and out the south gate at 12:01 a.m. Monday as their contract expired. They were greeted by a throng of chanting, picketing workers holding signs on the other side of Washington Street.

At the other end of the yard, across from the north gate, more workers began picketing outside their union hall. Trucks and motorcycles streamed by, honking horns and waving homemade flags. It’s the first strike at the shipyard in 20 years. The last was in 2000.

On Sunday, voting members in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6 rejected a three-year contract with BIW over subcontracting, health benefits and overtime, as well as other issues. They also voted to strike.

BIW is one of Maine’s largest private employers and Local S6 represents more than 4,000 workers at the yard.

A truck roars by the Local S6 union hall on Washington Street in Bath early Monday morning as members walked off the job and began picketing Bath Iron Works. It’s the first strike at BIW since 2000. Troy R. Bennett | BDN
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Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.