Shipyard, union are getting back on same page after strike

FILE - In this Saturday, July 25, 2020, file photo striking Bath Iron Works shipbuilders march in solidarity, in Bath, Maine. After a bitter two-month strike during a pandemic, BIW and its production workers are catching up on the production schedule. Machinists Union Local S6 and shipyard managers have been meeting with help from a federal mediator since the strike ended in August. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, July 25, 2020, file photo striking Bath Iron Works shipbuilders march in solidarity, in Bath, Maine. After a bitter two-month strike during a pandemic, BIW and its production workers are catching up on the production schedule. Machinists Union Local S6 and shipyard managers have been meeting with help from a federal mediator since the strike ended in August. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BATH, Maine – Months after a bitter strike during a pandemic, Bath Iron Works managers and production workers are starting to get on the same page when it comes to catching up on the production schedule.

Machinists Union Local S6 and shipyard managers have been meeting with help from a federal mediator since the two-month strike ended in August.

The result is a number of agreements, “substantial progress” on grievances and many new ideas for operational improvements going forward, said Martin Callaghan of the federal mediation service.

“I commend you all for your support of these critical collaborative efforts. They are clearly beginning to make a difference,” he wrote in a memo.

The shipbuilder, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, contended during the strike that changes were necessary after falling six months to a year behind on construction of Navy destroyers.

The delays likely knocked the shipyard out of contention for a lucrative contract to build a new class of frigates, officials said.

Bath Iron Works President Dirk Lesko said Friday that he expects the federally mediated discussions to yield positive results by year's end, as the shipyard and union embark on a three-year plan to get caught up.

“The committee is working well and together we are making significant progress with the help of the FMCS," he said, referring to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.