Striking shipbuilders picket outside an entrance to Bath Iron Works, Monday, June 22, 2020, in Bath, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

Striking shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works will meet with a federal mediator for the second time on Tuesday, when their strike will be in its fifth week.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6, the shipyard’s largest union with 4,000 members, posted the news on its Facebook page on Friday.

“We are scheduled to meet with them Tuesday morning at 10:30. Nothing further was discussed,” the post said. The local said it would post a Facebook update after the meeting concluded.

Both the union and the company met with the mediator last week. George Edwards, an assistant business representative for District Lodge 4 of the machinists union, said the mediator reached back out to him Friday.

“He’s met with the company so I’m assuming they will want to have follow up questions to what the company brought up,” Edwards said, “and then hopefully schedule a meeting soon for us and the company to get back to negotiations.”

BIW spokesperson David Hench said the company is “fully engaged with the federal mediation process” and is looking forward to finding a solution. He did not comment on whether BIW had a second meeting scheduled with the mediator.

Interactions between the union and BIW management have become increasingly acrimonious since the union started to strike on June 22. What initially started as back-and-forth comments in the media about who was to make the first move to talk turned into BIW filing a federal complaint against the union on July 10 for what they alleged was a threat against union members who crossed the picket line.

The strike already is weighing on BIW. In a letter obtained by Newscenter Maine, Bath Iron Works President Dirk Lesko blamed the ongoing strike for forcing temporary layoffs of the surveyors and trades inspectors in the Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S7. Edwards told the Times Record that the layoffs could potentially affect up to 30 workers of the 220-member Local S7.