Mediation Continues for Bath Iron Workers
Bath’s largest Iron Works union will be meeting with a federal mediator in the coming weeks. The mediation attempt comes after a month-long strike by the workers. Mediation attempts have been made throughout the month, but no agreement was reached. A spokesman for BIW claims the company is completely involved in the mediation process.
Local S6 of the Machinists Union is set to speak to the mediator in the coming weeks. The union represents 4300 of the company’s 6700 employees.
The strike began in mid-June. It came after a three-year contract offer was rejected. The offer would have provided the company with additional leeway to hire non-union subcontractors. The union said that was the deal-breaker for negotiations.
Since then, there has been little movement forward for the two sides. According to union reps, the company refused to make changes to the previously rejected offer. They also said there has been little room for compromise. According to the company, the strike has further escalated tensions.
According to spokesman David Hench from the company, BIW is fully engaged with the mediation process and is looking “…forward to finding a solution that restores our competitiveness and respects the needs of our valued workforce.”
Representatives from the company said the strike has put production schedules at risk and has led to forced layoffs. Earlier in July, the company filed a complaint against the union. The complaint, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, claimed that the union was threatening to fine workers who returned to work during the strike.