Today, more than 5,600 Maine citizens are employed by Bath Iron Works, with a payroll of $350 million each year. Mainers from all 16 counties are proud to work at BIW, where they earn a decent wage while doing their part to provide our U.S. Navy with state-of-the-art ships and destroyers.

No one in Washington fights harder for these men and women, and their families, than Senator Susan Collins.  As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins recently delivered in a big way by successfully advocating for committee passage of the 2020 defense funding bill that includes a number of provisions that will support jobs and directly benefit several defense contractors in Maine, including BIW, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, and Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick.

While the bill still has several votes before final passage, I am incredibly thankful for Senator Collins’ continued hard work on behalf of Maine’s shipbuilding industry.  Collins’ unyielding advocacy provides a major benefit to the region and our state.

BIW employees average nearly $61,000, plus a good benefits package that includes healthcare, pension, and 401K with company match.  They live in and support communities all around our state. Beyond the pay and benefits, the shipyard is also a great place to work.

Because of the continued support the shipyard has received from elected officials like Senator Collins, and the well-deserved reputation BIW has built up over the last 100 years, our shipbuilders have enjoyed a higher degree of job security than those who work in other manufacturing sectors in Maine. While other manufacturing industries saw a decline in jobs between 2014-2018, BIW has hired more than 2,000 employees.

The impact of the local shipyard has been so profound that Bath is known as City of Ships. But the economic benefits go far beyond the immediate area surrounding the shipyard. Each year, BIW makes $45 million in payments to 300 other Maine companies for goods and services they contract for, and the vast majority of these companies are small businesses.

Bath Iron Works has proven their commitment, not only to their employees, but to the State of Maine by investing more than $500 million to the facility since 1996 with the promise to invest an additional $100 million over the next 20 years.

Just last year, Maine recognized the economic value of the facility with the renewal of a shipbuilding tax credit that will match their $100 million investment with a $45 million investment.

BIW is entrusted with building the most complex and advanced surface ships to be used in defense of our nation, a fact our state should be very proud of. Bath built is best built and, thanks to Senator Susan Collins, the entire country knows this to be true.

Linda Baker is a former state representative and lives in Topsham.

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