BIW employees navigate monetary fallout throughout strike – Portland Press Herald – Press Herald

22July 2020

Bath on Wednesday, July 22. The four BIW electricians said they saved some money prior to the strike started, but they’re weighing how to make a little money while on strike. Kathleen O’Brien/ Times Record BATH– Numerous members of Bath Iron Functions’biggest union have taken sideline to survive the monetary squeeze that

features being on strike for nearly 5 weeks and counting. Eliot Scott began his task as a BIW electrician just over a year ago after leaving his 12-year career as an EMT to get benefits, such as medical insurance. One month into a strike that might drag out for months more, and he’s considering a turnaround naturally.

“I’m about to see if I can get my job back as an Emergency Medical Technician to make ends meet,” said Scott. “I have actually constantly wanted to work at BIW, and I lastly got the chance, however one year later, we’re on strike. I don’t want to be on strike, I wish to work, but I’m not going to cross the picket line.”

Machinist Union Resident S6, which represents 4,300 of the shipyard’s 6,700 employees, went on strike June 22 after rejecting the 3-year contract proposal over differences about the company’s plans to continue employing subcontractors and proposed changes to employee seniority advantages.

Scott isn’t alone in seeking alternative income. Numerous BIW workers spoke to The Times Record about how they’re putting food on the table and making home loan payments in the middle of the strike.

Jarred Steele, 22, started as a welder in January, as whispers of a prospective strike started floating around the shipyard.

One month into the strike, Steele said he found a task as a landscaper in Scarborough in order to make his lease, automobile and insurance coverage payments, however stated he ‘d “much rather have my normal task back.”

He said he wanted he had actually conserved more cash before the strike and that he hadn’t bought a motorbike before the strike.

Richard Dumais, a BIW electrician of 36 years, stated he saved money before the strike however took a job at Lowe’s to bring in money.

“My wife has a job so she’s getting income which helps, but I’m not making what I made at BIW,” he said. “We cut down on things like eating in restaurants and going locations, and we just need to see what we invest.”

Dumais stated he has actually been involved in 2 previous Local S6 strikes and took on short-term tasks throughout both. The last strike, in 2000, lasted 55 days, and the strike in 1985 lasted 99 days.

Regardless of holding his position for over three decades and staying devoted to the union, he stated he’s prepared to leave his job at BIW due to the fact that he’s “tired of dealing with BIW and the contracts. After 36 years, it gets old.

“I have a job interview coming up and if I get that job, I’ll retire from BIW and take that job for the next six or seven years,” stated Dumais. “I wasn’t planning on doing that, but the chance exists and I’m going to take it.”

Mark Jordan, a BIW electrical contractor of 32 years, stated he hasn’t gotten a sideline yet, but may quickly in order to get health insurance while on strike.

Strikers lost their health insurance late last month unless they opted to spend for a plan out of pocket, which could cost approximately a couple of thousand dollars a month.

The union offers members a $150 weekly stipend throughout the strike, if they picket for four hours. That falls far except what they make normally. Regional S6 authorities established an online donation link on the union’s social networks page, where people can contribute to union members in requirement.

Union officials couldn’t be reached Wednesday to reveal how much they’ve gotten in contributions or how those funds are being distributed.

Jason Brossi, co-owner of Highbrow, a medical cannabis store chain, fed about 100 picketers through Salty Boyz, a regional food truck, Wednesday afternoon.

“Each of them is most likely having a hard time economically and consuming is a necessity, so we wished to be able to assist them,” stated Brossi, who was when a Communications of America union member. “I feel sorry for them, and now we’re in a position to do something to reveal our assistance and give back.”

The ongoing strike is thinning wallets, but members who talked to The Times Record argued the union must continue to defend modifications to the business’s proposed agreement.

“I think we need to be out [on strike] for a while– a minimum of two months– since the longer it goes the much better it is for us,” said Jordan. “The business will keep falling even more and further behind the longer we’re out.”

BIW President Dirk Lesko has stated the shipyard was at least 6 months behind schedule prior to the strike started.

BIW and Regional S6 continue to quarrel

Union leaders said in an online post Wednesday that they sent proposed solutions to the stalemate over BIW’s subcontracting proposition to Phebe Novakovic, CEO of General Characteristics, in the hopes that her input would motivate BIW to restart agreement negotiations.

Information of those proposals weren’t instantly readily available Wednesday. The union has actually long pushed back versus the shipyard’s efforts to bring in subcontractors, arguing the shipyard ought to lean on knowledgeable workers and hire brand-new staff members to speed up production.

Novakovic forwarded the message to Lesko, who responded to Local S6 President Chris Wiers with a letter of his own. Lesko stated BIW’s proposed changes to how the company hires subcontractors were made to gain access to resources rapidly and assist keep the shipyard competitive when competing for Navy agreements.

“The procedure for engaging subcontractors under the existing agreement language has actually failed all of us in that regard,” Lesko wrote. “Nevertheless, let me assure you that BIW will not use the flexibility we look for in subcontracting to replace [union] tasks.”

Lesko likewise composed the business “respects the key elements of seniority. BIW does, nevertheless, require the ability to make work projects that meet company needs– which do not constantly align with the direct application of seniority.”

In BIW’s proposed “best, last and final” agreement offer (the one the union later turned down), the business requested for the capability to shuffle workers around to tasks or shifts where they’re most needed to increase production, but those projects are usually decided based upon union seniority.

“Remember when BIW stated they weren’t attacking our seniority,” union leaders wrote to members. “We believe that they are, and this letter follows that perspective.”

Remarks are not readily available on this story.

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