mcloudyn.png
Saturday May 15th, 2021 2:02AM

Machinists union president rallies striking shipyard workers

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BATH, Maine (AP) — The international president of the Machinists union rallied striking workers at Bath Iron Works on Saturday, urging them to stay strong and proclaiming “there's no way in hell we are backing down from this fight.”

Robert Martinez Jr. delivered a message of unity to Machinists Local S6 during a strike that passed the one-month mark this week. He accused the shipyard, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, of "corporate greed."

“This is the largest strike in the United States of America right now,” he told the crowd of hundreds outside the union hall, across the street from the shipyard. “The eyes of the nation are upon us.”

The group, which included some spouses and children, marched from the shipyard's north gate to the south gate in a show of solidarity.

The 4,300 production workers went on strike on June 22 after overwhelmingly rejecting the company's final contract proposal.

The strike is centered around subcontractors, work rules and seniority, with wages and benefits being less of a concern. The company’s offer contained 3% pay raises in each of the three years covered by the proposal.

Both sides have been meeting separately with a federal mediator but there have been no face-to-face negotiations since the strike began.

Martinez asked Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who visited workers on the picket line the day before, to press the company to return to the negotiating table. Collins' opponent in the November election, Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon, spoke at the event on Saturday.

Collins wants to see if mediation can yield common ground.

"With the help of the mediator, she hopes both sides will quickly resolve their differences so that BIW’s employees return to work and continue to deliver much-needed ships to our Navy," said Collins spokesperson Annie Clark.

The union also accused the company of hiring “scab” workers from Alabama and Mississippi and putting them up in local hotels.

Martinez called it a “slap in the face" for workers.

The company has said it's ready to return to the negotiating table when directed to do so by the mediator. A company spokesperson had no further comment on Saturday.

It's the first strike in 20 years at Bath Iron Works, which is one of the Navy’s largest shipbuilders and a major employer in Maine, with 6,800 workers.

The shipyard builds guided-missile destroyers, the workhorse of the fleet, and the strike threatens to put production further behind at a time of growing competition with Russia and China.

The company was already about six months behind schedule when the strike began. The company needs to be able to hire subcontractors to get caught up, the shipyard's president contends.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Massive protest against governor's arrest challenges Kremlin
Tens of thousands of people have marched across the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk to protest the arrest of the regional governor on murder charges, continuing a wave of protests that has lasted for two weeks in a challenge to the Kremlin
10:28AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Machinists union president rallies striking shipyard workers
The international president of the Machinists union is encouraging striking workers at Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works to stay strong
10:21AM ( 20 minutes ago )
For racial justice protests, US taps tactical border squads
They are the most highly trained members of the Border Patrol — agents who confront drug traffickers along the U.S.-Mexico border and track down dangerous fugitives in rugged terrain
10:19AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'Unholy alliance' of power, money fueled corruption scheme
An FBI affidavit to support a criminal complaint against Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder details how he and others used money provided by an unidentified company known to be FirstEnergy Corp. and its affiliates to return Householder to power and get a roughly $1 billion bailout approved for the company's Ohio nuclear plants
9:05AM ( 1 hour ago )
Guide dogs helping blind runners stay fit despite pandemic
Social distancing rules can make exercising a challenge for a blind runner who needs a volunteer tethered as a guide
9:04AM ( 1 hour ago )
Pregnant women at risk of death in Kenya's COVID-19 curfew
Veronica Atieno remembers feeling her way through the dark alleys between the shacks that make up Nairobi's slums
8:06AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Massive protest against governor's arrest challenges Kremlin
Tens of thousands of people have marched across the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk to protest the arrest of the regional governor on murder charges, continuing a wave of protests that has lasted for two weeks in a challenge to the Kremlin
10:28AM ( 13 minutes ago )
For racial justice protests, US taps tactical border squads
They are the most highly trained members of the Border Patrol — agents who confront drug traffickers along the U.S.-Mexico border and track down dangerous fugitives in rugged terrain
10:19AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Hanna becomes hurricane as it heads toward virus-weary Texas
Tropical Storm Hanna has been upgraded to a hurricane and is moving toward Texas, which has been dealing with a surge of coronavirus cases in recent weeks
10:12AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Kyrgyzstan's rights activist Azimzhan Askarov dies at 69
Azimzhan Askarov, a human rights defender in Kyrgyzstan who was serving a life term on charges of involvement in ethnic violence that were widely criticized as trumped-up, has died
10:05AM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: German cruise ship out for 1st time since virus
A German cruise ship has set sail for the first time since the industry was shut down because of the coronavirus, with strict precautions
9:58AM ( 43 minutes ago )