Talks between the union representing striking production workers at Bath Iron Works and the shipbuilding company appear to be breaking down, one side said Wednesday.
A brief posting on the Facebook page of Machinists Local S6 union on Wednesday said that while negotiations had made “good progress” addressing some areas of concern, they “appear to be breaking down as the bigger issues are being addressed.”
The union’s 4,300 workers went on strike June 22 in a dispute that focuses more on subcontracting, work rules and seniority than on wages and benefits. The company proposed annual 3 percent raises over three years.
The company contends its aim is to streamline the hiring of subcontractors. Subcontractors were already allowed under the old contract.
The union has asked Congress to intervene and several Maine local and national leaders have weighed in on the strike. The union met with a mediator last month.
It’s the first strike in 20 years at Bath Iron Works, one of the Navy’s largest shipbuilders and a major employer in Maine, with 6,800 workers.
The shipyard builds guided-missile destroyers, the workhorse of the fleet, and the strike threatens to put production further behind at a time of growing competition with Russia and China.
The company was already about six months behind schedule when the strike began. The shipyard’s president contends that the company needs to be able to hire subcontractors to get caught up.