I was disappointed to see the Local S6 machinists union go on strike at Bath Iron Works. While our state’s economy has been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, BIW has provided a vital lifeline for its workers and surrounding communities, as well as hundreds of suppliers throughout Maine.

This is clearly a case of myopia where the union fits the “I have meet the enemy and they are us” and fails the recognize the pattern of lost contracts and failure to meet production goals, while the company has stated that its aim is to streamline the hiring of subcontractors allowed under the old contract. The company has stated, “More subcontractors are needed despite the hiring of 1,800 workers last year and another 1,000 workers this year because the shipyard has fallen behind on the delivery of ships.”

BIW has a great reputation of building some of the finest ships and I hope the recent actions of union are not an example of the piano player on the deck of the Titanic.

Bath Iron Works and Machinists’ Local S6 have not engaged in face-to-face negotiations since the strike began. The last thing we need right now is to shut down operations at one of Maine’s largest and most important employers. There are many unemployed Mainers who would welcome the opportunity to work at BIW. Local S6 should think long and hard about what the company actually offered them.

The reality is that Maine is struggling, with tens of thousands unemployed. And the loss of business during this summer’s tourist season will compound the pain already being felt across the state.

Harvey Cotta


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