BATH, Maine — Third-shift union employees at Bath Iron Works walked off the job and out the south gate at 12:01 a.m. Monday as their contract expired. They were greeted by a throng of chanting, picketing workers holding signs on the other side of Washington Street.
At the other end of the yard, across from the north gate, more workers began picketing outside their union hall. Trucks and motorcycles streamed by, honking horns and waving homemade flags. It’s the first strike at the shipyard in 20 years. The last was in 2000.
On Sunday, voting members in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6 rejected a three-year contract with BIW over subcontracting, health benefits and overtime, as well as other issues. They also voted to strike.
BIW is one of Maine’s largest private employers and Local S6 represents more than 4,000 workers at the yard.