The international president of the Machinists union is calling on Congress to pressure Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair agreement with striking workers.
“The Machinists Union is ready and willing to work with all partners in our effort to save these vitally important jobs and ensure that the necessary skilled workforce is available to continue to build the world’s greatest ships for the U.S. Navy,” President Robert Martinez Jr. wrote on Tuesday.
About 4,300 Local S6 production workers went on strike June 22 after rejecting a three-year contract proposal from the company.
The company offered annual 3 percent pay raises but the union is concerned about the hiring of subcontractors, changes in work rules and issues involving seniority. The company has maintained that it has the right to hire subcontractors but wants to streamline the process to be competitive.
The last strike, in 2000, lasted 55 days.
Bath Iron Works is one of the Navy’s largest shipbuilders and a major employer in Maine, with 6,800 workers. The company builds Navy destroyers, the workhorse of the fleet.