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‘Join us in this effort’: Machinists Union calls on Trump to help BIW workers in strike efforts

The IAM wrote a letter to President Trump asking for his support and assistance in resolving the Bath Iron Works strike; they have not gotten a response.
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)

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) President Robert Martinez Jr. wrote a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to support Bath Iron Works (BIW) workers who are striking for a fair contract.

On behalf of the more than 4,300 union members on strike, Martinez asked Trump to intervene and help the union members by urging BIW to “put aside their misguided proposals” that risk its Navy subcontracting mission success.

BIW’s largest union, Local S6, overwhelmingly voted to go on strike last week as their contracts expired. Since Monday at 12:01 a.m., thousands of union members have been on the picket lines outside the BIW facility in protest of the company’s proposal to continue to outsource Local S6 work to out-of-state contractors. BIW and the union are still at odds over a contract after more than a week of striking.

RELATED: Letters between IAM chairman and General Dynamics president discuss BIW strike

“These proud shipbuilding workers do not take lightly the decision to stand up for their rights and take collective action, but the company has left these men and women no choice,” Martinez wrote in the letter to Trump, which is dated on June 24. “We ask that you stand with us to urge BIW, and their parent company General Dynamics, to put aside their misguided proposals to risk mission success by subcontracting our work to under-skilled contractors and gut our members’ seniority right at work, which is the heart of any collective bargaining agreement.”

Read the letter to Trump here:

RELATED: Navy awards BIW $132 million for workplace improvements

The letter goes on to explain the longstanding relationship with the U.S. Navy as well as how contract negotiations have gone thus far. The letter says the subcontract work, which was the major deal-breaker of the contract negotiations, is a “slap in the face” to workers and would jeopardize workers’ safety, health, and livelihoods.

According to the IAM, the White House has not yet responded to the letter.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and the presumptive Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden weighed in on the strike and offered his support for union members.

“Local S6 members work hard to ensure that our military have the tools to be successful. It is up to us to make sure that those same workers have what they need to accomplish that for their own families,” Biden said. “A job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. I urge the Bath Iron Works to come back to the table and make a fair offer to the hardworking men and women of IAM Local S6.”

RELATED: Biden weighs in on BIW strike, urges company to 'make a fair offer'

The White House did not immediately respond to NEWS CENTER Maine’s request for comment.

Read more of NEWS CENTER Maine's ongoing coverage of the strike: