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Noise complaints overnight contribute to 'more heated' atmosphere as BIW union strike continues into second day

Officers issued multiple warnings overnight and into Tuesday for honking horns, trucks "peeling out" and fireworks, but made no arrests, Bath police said.
Credit: AP
Union members picket outside Bath Iron Works, Monday, June 22, 2020, in Bath, Maine. Production workers at one of the Navy's largest shipbuilders overwhelmingly voted to strike, rejecting the company's three-year contract offer Sunday and threatening to further delay delivery of ships. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

BATH, Maine — Members of the largest union at Bath Iron Works (BIW) lined Washington Street again Tuesday as the strike by Local S6 of the Machinists Union continued into a second day.

Carrying signs and cheering as passing motorists honked their horns, about 50 picketers stood at the shipyard's south gate early Tuesday afternoon.

Nearby, a tractor-trailer sent to Bath by the Teamsters played Bob Marley music loud enough that it was audible at the shipyard's north gate, just near the S6 union hall.

More than 4,300 of BIW's 6,700 shipbuilders were on strike effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday after the union rejected the company's "last, best and final offer" and 87 percent of voting members voted to strike.

RELATED: Union workers walk off the job at Bath Iron Works, begin strike

Credit: NCM

The proposal offered a three-percent raise in each of its three years and a $1,200 signing bonus. But the union argued it would allow the company more flexibility to hire subcontractors—which management says it needs to reduce its backlog of work—and would change how BIW is required to adhere to seniority.

Deputy Chief Andrew Booth of the Bath Police Department said Tuesday that tires "peeling out," horns honking and fireworks set off overnight prompted many noise complaints, which are frustrating police.

"The leadership of Local S6 is very influential with their membership, but the strike captains cannot be everywhere all the time," Booth said. "We're trying to work with them, but some people are getting a little riled up and the atmosphere is a little more heated today. Somebody is going to get hurt and we're trying to keep things safe."

Booth said police issued "several people several warnings," but have not issued any tickets or made any arrests.

Union leadership declined to comment. A spokesman for BIW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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