Brothers and Sisters,
We are at the commencement of our sixth week on strike against Bath Iron Works. Questions surrounding the mediation process have come from many of you. Please allow us to explain, Local S6 spoke with FMCS mediators twice last week regarding returning to the table to resume negotiations for a fair contract for all of our members of Local S6, the irreplaceable skilled production workers of BIW. The only response from BIWs spokesperson was the company “remains fully engaged in the mediation process” and “when that process calls for the parties to return to the bargaining table and resume negotiations, we are prepared to do so.”
The whole point of this process is to get both parties back to the table as soon as possible. This is typical BIW PR that doesn’t accurately depict the intent of the process or the actual progress made. The mediator is supposed to get us back to the table which we are clearly prepared to do. We are prepared with additional options, plans, and proposals for increased job security and schedule recuperation to assist BIW.
The Union already knows that BIW has brought subcontractors into the shipyard and there are plans for a number of additional ones to enter the gates and scab out our work for a predetermined amount of time. This only gives hold to the theory that BIW has no intention of going back to the negotiating table anytime soon because of the contractual agreements with the subcontracts they are now employing. There is a clear and growing understanding across this state and country for that matter, that BIW’s last, best, and final proposal forced the members of Local S6 on strike. BIW will stop at nothing to subcontract our work, trying to starve us out, in an attempt to get what they don’t need. If BIW put as much effort into working collaboratively with us as they do with subbing our work out and watering down our skill sets with low paying jobs offers, we would be one of the leading assets in the shipbuilding industry.
How can BIW go from a shipyard that would send our members all over the world to now a shipyard that needs our own work subbed out for the very same reason, SKILL. How could BIW have delivered more than 30 DDG-51 Destroyers on schedule and now we can’t. I’m sure the company can come up with a litany of excuses, but the Local S6 is only interested in a fix.
In Solidarity, Local S6 Leadership