As of this writing, 4,300 skilled Local S6 tradespeople have entered their seventh week on strike against General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works. Eighty-seven percent of voting union members saw BIW’s “last, best, and final” offer for exactly what it is: short-sighted corporate greed, propagated as a long-term investment in the community.

The tradesmen and -women who have earned the motto, “Bath Built is Best Built,” are not misguided by striking for a fair contract. They are resolute in ensuring that the slice of Maine’s shipbuilding legacy that they inherited from their mother or father, is still there when it is the next generation’s turn.

Real leaders take responsibility, and it is a fool’s errand to place the blame for BIW production delays solely at the feet of the workforce. BIW’s plot to gain unfettered access to subcontracting and gut seniority has far-reaching consequences for Maine’s future, and we mustn’t forget how long, and how hard current union protections were won. One does not simply ask nicely for fairness, safety and respect from a $39 billion company, and it is short-sighted to insist that we roll back these protections in order to fulfill stockholder demands.

BIW has shown a complete lack of insight into their own mismanagement by aiming to dismantle the very tenets of organized labor as we know it. A total of 4,300 brothers and sisters of IAMAW-Local S6 are taking a stand today so that my son and daughter have a chance to be third-generation shipbuilders, like their father and grandfather before them.

Christine Adkisson


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