The IAM, the largest North American defense union, sent a letter to leadership of the House Appropriations Committee and House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee urging them to support funding for two DDG-51 Flight III destroyers in Fiscal Year 2022. The DDG-51 destroyer fleet is built by thousands of Machinists Union members at Bath Iron Works and Huntington Ingalls Industries.
The current FY 2022 Defense Department budget request includes funding for only one DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyer. Last year, Congress approved funding for two DDG-51s.
“Consistent funding for the DDG-51 program is not only necessary to properly equip our U.S. Navy, but this continued funding is also needed to promote the health of the U.S. shipbuilding industry, our domestic industrial base, and the highly-workforce on which it relies,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Proper funding of this program will act to stabilize and strengthen the industrial base and its workforce. Each DDG-51 supports the jobs and sharpens the skills of more than 500 Machinists Union members at Bath Iron Works for a period of five years. A cut to this program is a cut to this workforce, and if these highly-skilled workers are let go, they would be nearly impossible to replace.”
The Machinists Union’s aggressive lobbying helped advance the $706 billion FY 2022 Pentagon spending measure out of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee. The measure goes to full committee consideration on July 13.