Union leaders rally with striking workers at BIW, gain support of two politicians

Local S6 union members gathered for a rally at Bath Iron Works Saturday and heard messages of support from union leaders and elected officials. The strike began just over a month ago after the union rejected what the company called its final contract proposal. The dispute centers on the use of subcontractors and disagreements over work rules seniority. Union leaders Robert Martinez Jr. and Brian Bryant called on the President of Bath Iron Works, Dirk Lesko, to “do the right thing.” “The company likes to say, Bath built, is best built,” said Martinez, the IAM International President. “Well Dirk, you should really be saying, S6 built, is best built. “”So it’s time for you Dirk to bring your team back to the table to negotiate a fair contract,” said Bryant, the IAM General Vice President. “If you don’t change your mind, you’re going to be the second Lesko that’s on the wrong side of history.” Speaker of the Maine House Sara Gideon visited the picket line Saturday and said she will continue to fight for the striking workers. Senator Susan Collins visited Friday and said she hopes both sides can reach an agreement. (Gideon is running against Collins this year for her seat in the U.S. Senate.) Local S6 leaders met with a federal mediator earlier in the week but it remains unclear when, or if, negotiations will resume. A spokesperson for Bath Iron Works released a statement Saturday saying the company “remains fully engaged in the mediation process” and “when that process calls for the parties to return to the bargaining table and resume negotiations, we are prepared to do so.”

Local S6 union members gathered for a rally at Bath Iron Works Saturday and heard messages of support from union leaders and elected officials.

The strike began just over a month ago after the union rejected what the company called its final contract proposal. The dispute centers on the use of subcontractors and disagreements over work rules seniority.

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Union leaders Robert Martinez Jr. and Brian Bryant called on the President of Bath Iron Works, Dirk Lesko, to “do the right thing.”

“The company likes to say, Bath built, is best built,” said Martinez, the IAM International President. “Well Dirk, you should really be saying, S6 built, is best built. “

“So it’s time for you Dirk to bring your team back to the table to negotiate a fair contract,” said Bryant, the IAM General Vice President. “If you don’t change your mind, you’re going to be the second Lesko that’s on the wrong side of history.”

Speaker of the Maine House Sara Gideon visited the picket line Saturday and said she will continue to fight for the striking workers. Senator Susan Collins visited Friday and said she hopes both sides can reach an agreement. (Gideon is running against Collins this year for her seat in the U.S. Senate.)

Local S6 leaders met with a federal mediator earlier in the week but it remains unclear when, or if, negotiations will resume.

A spokesperson for Bath Iron Works released a statement Saturday saying the company “remains fully engaged in the mediation process” and “when that process calls for the parties to return to the bargaining table and resume negotiations, we are prepared to do so.”