AUGUSTA – Bath Iron Works machinists Sunday overwhelmingly ratified a four-year agreement that includes a signing bonus, raises and increased pension contributions from the company.

Workers said the deal was fair and offered security in a struggling economy. Though many had minor reservations about the terms, they said it was not worth a strike.

Nearly 2,000 of the 3,200 members of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6 voted at the Augusta Civic Center, and 82 percent voted for ratification, said Dan Dowling, a member of the union’s negotiations committee.

BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini said that with an agreement in place, the company can complete a bid for a major Navy contract.

“The negotiating teams did just an excellent job hammering out what we think is a fair agreement for employees that will improve our competitive position to secure future work,” DeMartini said.

“We now know what our labor rates and what our costs are going to be going forward for the next four years.”

BIW, a unit of General Dynamics Corp., employs 5,400 workers and relies on defense contracts. The company is competing to build nine DDG-51 destroyers for the Navy in the next five years.

Local S6 represents mechanics, fitters, welders, painters, electricians and custodians, all of whom will receive a $3,000 signing bonus.

There is no raise in the first year of the contract, but starting next year most workers will receive annual raises between 2.25 percent and 2.75 percent.

Custodians are an exception; rather than wage increases, they will receive bonuses of $2,000 in the second, third and fourth years of the contract. Bonuses offer less long-term benefit than raises.

Health insurance premiums will rise 5 percent annually starting in the second year — which Dowling said will amount to $14 per week “in the worst-case scenario” by the end of the contract period — and there will be a one-time increase in copays in 2014.

BIW also will increase its contributions to union workers’ pensions, from $2 per hour to $2.50 over four years.

Dowling said negotiations were smoother than in the past, especially 2000, when workers decided to strike rather than accept the company’s proposal.

BIW and union negotiators reached a tentative agreement at midnight Wednesday, and the Local S6 team endorsed it unanimously prior to Sunday’s vote.

Lewiston resident Paul Dulac, 53, who started as a pipefitter at BIW in January, said he would have preferred a raise rather than a bonus the first year, but he voted for the contract.

“To me, it’s not that bad,” Dulac said. “It could be better, it could be worse.”

Shipfitter Johnny Black, a Manchester resident and 34-year employee, said the union negotiated a good agreement for members.

“We all agree it’s a fair offer, and the way the economy is, there’s no jobs out there,” said Black, 57. “I’m going to go with what they’ve offered and keep on working.”