BRUNSWICK — President Trump on Monday tweeted that he was “Glad to have helped” striking workers at Bath Iron Works and shipyard management reach a tentative agreement.

Trump wrote: “CONGRATS to General Dynamic’s Bath Iron Works & Local S6 on reaching a tentative agreement after the long strike. GD builds GREAT Arleigh-Burke destroyers. Super boost for Maine Economy. Glad to have helped. I’ve done a lot for Maine!”

The tweet did not indicate in what way Trump helped the two sides come to an agreement during negotiations. A mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service sat down at the negotiating table to help the union and shipyard come to an agreement.

“Notable contributors to the process leading to the settlement were Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart and IAM International President Robert Martinez,” the service said in its news release announcing the agreement.

Tim Suitter, Local S6 spokesman, declined to comment on the president’s tweet, but said the union is thankful for the federal mediator’s help in the negotiations process.

“We’re glad that we were able to come to a tentative agreement for our union members,” said Suitter. “We were able to stay in the process and hammer something out that will work for both sides. “We look forward to the vote and to get back to work.”


BIW spokesman David Hench said the company “appreciates the efforts of the [Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service] mediator which helped both sides reach this tentative agreement.”

It’s unclear what role the White House played in getting that mediator involved.

Both Suitter and Hench declined to expand on what the president’s role may have been, deferring to the federal mediation service’s statement. Messages to the federal mediation service and the White House were not returned Monday.

The shipyard and union negotiators agreed late Friday on a new contract proposal after a week of contentious negotiations. If union members vote to accept the contract offer later this month, it would end a strike that’s now in its eighth week.

Local S6 of the Machinists Union announced Saturday that the revised contract offer maintains current subcontracting language. The current contract, which expired in late June, allowed subcontracting after a joint review period by both parties.

The new contract also includes an economic package with 3% wage increases in each year of the contract and continuation of existing benefits to include health care plans and a pension, according to a BIW news release.

The union has been striking since June after rejecting a contract offer from shipyard management, primarily over provisions regarding seniority and subcontracting.

Trump had promised to expand the Navy to 355 ships when he first ran for president in 2016, indicating at a campaign rally in Lisbon that it would be a boon to the Bath shipyard.

The Maine State Council of Machinists, which represents Bath Iron Works’ largest unions, which had endorsed Republican Sen. Susan Collins in 2014, has endorsed Collins’ opponent, Democrat Sara Gideon, this year.

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