BIW gave union a fair shake

In a recent podcast interview, Local S6 union President Chris Wiers was asked what it was like to work at Maine’s Bath Iron Works. He replied: “It sucks. It’s a sh—- job.” That may explain why he has steered the union membership into a misguided strike that will harm both the company and his fellow union members.

BIW made a fair offer, including a 3% pay increase each year for the next 3 years, a $1,200 signing bonus with pension and health benefits. They also promised not to use subcontractors in any area where union workers are laid off but need to continue hiring to meet the demand of building warships. If the union leadership has objections to that offer, they should offer a counter-proposal, not push workers to the picket line when so many people are struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic.

Mr. Wiers may not like his chosen profession, but BIW has provided good-paying jobs and benefits to thousands of Maine families for more than 100 years. Given the unemployment rate in Maine right now, I can assure Mr. Wiers that there are plenty of people around who would be happy to take his “sh—– job” and those unwilling to negotiate in good faith.

Kerri Bickford,
Topsham

Grateful for Midcoast-Parkview

I write to congratulate readers of The Times Record for the good fortune of having in our midst Midcoast-Parkview Hospital, one of the state’s very best. One rated, I believe, in the top 2% nationally. I returned to my hometown here in Bath just as soon as I retired, about 20 years ago, and while I qualify as “healthy” overall, my 89 years are taking their toll, and I have had numerous occasions to need the hospital’s services. It would be an understatement to say that I have been completely satisfied. I no longer think in terms of “having to go to the hospital” but in terms of “having an opportunity to go to the hospital.” It was no surprise to discover that it has been designated a “Magnet facility” by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for its exceptional nursing and patient care. Only three percent of U.S. hospitals have, like Midcoast-Parkview, achieved this designation three consecutive times. The “care” goes far deeper than the facility’s impressive technical competence. I find clear evidence of rampant, highly contagious caring, of an administration that cares about its employees and employees that care about their clients. When Midcoast “adopted” a bankrupt Parkview, it did not follow the usual business practice of downsizing to cut expenses, but found a way to retain all Parkview employees at full salary.

This supportive warmth is more than a fringe benefit. My own body, like yours, functions best when it is not tense with anxiety, fear, suspicion, or resentment—when it feels safe. Doctors and nurses can function best when their patients treat them with appreciation and gratitude. If you don’t realize that the distilled essence of this warmth is concentrated at the top, in the CEO/President, I won’t embarrass her by blowing her horn. I’ll just keep hoping to get another glimpse of some of the good folk I’ve recently lost touch with, and meeting some new ones.

George F. Dole,
Bath

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