Bath Iron Works and its largest union have reached a strike settlement agreement that details how workers will return to the shipyard if union membership ratifies a proposed contract this weekend.
The settlement agreement is separate from the tentative contract that the 4,300-member Machinists Local S6 will vote on from Friday until Sunday, the union said in a Facebook post on Friday. The members did not have to vote on the settlement agreement.
Local S6 members have been on the picket line for two months protesting the use of subcontractors and work reassignments, especially for those with seniority. The two sides came to a tentative contract agreement on those and other issues with the help of federal mediators.
If the tentative contract is approved Sunday, employees will return to their previous job, shift and location. Employees assigned to the third shift will return to work on Sunday, Aug. 23.
Other employees can elect to return to work on Aug. 24, Aug. 31 or Sept. 8, and must call in to declare their start date or be subject to discipline. This will allow them to give notice to another employer if they picked up other work during the strike. Insurance benefits will be activated when the employee returns to work at BIW.
BIW has agreed to credit 40 of the 80 hours needed to accrue vacation time in August so that people returning can still accrue vacation time for that month.
The union and BIW agreed that they won’t tolerate any harassment or retaliation related to employees who crossed the picket line during the strike. Both parties also agreed that each would request the withdrawal of unfair labor practice charges pending before the National Labor Relations Board.