BATH, Maine — Auditors from the Grand Lodge of the international machinists’ union are investigating allegations of missing funds at Local S6 of the machinists’ union, the largest union at Bath Iron Works.

Jonathan Battaglia, a spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, confirmed the ongoing investigation early Friday afternoon.

“There is an internal investigation by our Grand Lodge auditors to figure out if there is any shortage of funds,” Battaglia said.

If auditors determine funds are missing, the IAMAW is required by law to report it to the Maine Department of Labor, he said.

Battaglia said he learned of the investigation on Friday. He could not confirm reports that fliers about the investigation were distributed to union members Friday morning.

He declined to comment on any details of the investigation, including the timeframe of any alleged theft, saying only, “We’re going as quickly as we can and keeping our members informed.”

Early Friday morning, a union official who would not give his name asked a reporter to leave the Local S6 hall across Washington Street from the shipyard, saying only, “Internal investigation.”

Local S6 president Mike Keenan was not in on Friday, according to the union secretary. A call to Local S6 Vice President Rocky Grenier was not returned.

Keenan, a shipfitter, served as president of Local S6 from 2001 to 2008, and was re-elected in October, along with Grenier and Jason Perry as secretary-treasurer. They took office in January.

Battaglia confirmed on Friday that Keenan remains president of the Local S6.

Bath Police Lt. Robert Savary said Friday that his department had not received any official complaint about an alleged theft.

Also on Friday, BIW spokesman David Hench confirmed that the company informed Local S6 that 17 outside machinists would be laid off effective April 7 due to fluctuations in the workload. Hench said that with more than 17 job openings in other classifications, “Our hope is we will be able to accommodate anyone who chooses to stay.”

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