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

Members of Local S6 spent hours picketing overnight Sunday and early Monday morning, after voting to strike over the weekend

BATH, Maine — At 12:01 A.M. on Monday, hundreds of workers at Bath Iron Works walked off the job, to begin striking. Members of BIW's largest Union Local S6 voted over the weekend to reject the latest contract offer from the shipyard and begin to strike. 

The contract officially ended at midnight Sunday into Monday. According to Local S6, 87% of voting Union members voted to strike. 

"We are proud to build the best ships in the world and we want to keep it that way. We are fighting for good jobs for the Maine economy," said Local S6 president Chris Wiers in a statement. "We want jobs at the shipyard to be high-quality jobs that members can earn a decent living in over a long career. We are adamantly opposed to BIW’s demands to roll back worker protections and job quality standards, to massively increase subcontracting and to gut the language in our contract that makes these decent, safe jobs."

RELATED: BIW union Local S6 workers vote to strike

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This strike comes after weeks of contract negotiations between the union and Bath Iron Works. The latest contract proposal includes a three-percent raise for each of the next three years. The proposal also includes increases in health insurance costs.

Union officials say the contract also would allow the company more flexibility to subcontract work and would change the company’s consideration of seniority when making work assignments.

BIW President Dirk Lesko said previously in an interview with NEWS CENTER Maine that the company is behind schedule on several ships, and they want to use subcontractors to catch up. 

This is the first time in nearly 20 years that there has been a major strike at Bath Iron Works. The strike in the year 2000 lasted 55 days. 

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