Bath Iron Works crane towers loom on the skyline in this Oct. 1, 2020, file photo. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A Bath Iron Works union overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract Sunday that gives more than 200 workers a pay raise and improved benefits.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S7, which represents 205 clerical and administrative workers at the Bath shipyard, will get a 3 percent pay raise each year for the next three years, an increase in accident and sickness benefits to 50 percent of a worker’s gross weekly pay and an increase to $72,000 a year for those who reach the high end of the pay scale, according to the AFL-CIO.

Under the contract, several workers will be moved to one trade, where they will get an additional $2 an hour raise atop the annual 3 percent increase.

“The success of these negotiations was due in large part to the hard work and dedication of the Local S7 negotiating committee, the solidarity of the hardworking members of Local S7, and the support and leadership from Machinists District 4,” Jessica Chubbuck-Goodwin, president of Local S7, said Monday afternoon.

The shipyard also applauded the contract’s ratification.

“We are pleased the members of IAM Local S7 have voted to ratify this three-year contract following unanimous endorsement by the bargaining committees for the union and BIW. The three-year agreement, which includes several enhancements, will help us move forward together to meet our schedule commitments to the U.S. Navy,” David Hench, a spokesperson for the shipyard, said in a Tuesday morning statement.

The union negotiators also attributed the outcome to the gains the 4,300 Local S6 workers won after a nine-week strike at the shipyard, its first in 20 years. Those gains included resolving issues around subcontractors, work rules and seniority, as well as 3 percent raises each year for three years and a signing bonus.

“There is no question that the company didn’t want to mess around this time. We are glad to see that Bath Iron Works came in and negotiated an honest and fair contract for Local 7 this time,” labor representative George Edwards of IAM District Lodge 4 said. “This contract is proof that when workers stick together and collectively demand to be treated and paid fairly, they win much better wages and working conditions than if they tried to go it alone.”

It’s the fourth new contract signed between Bath Iron Works and a union there in recent months, including last August’s S6 contract, a November contract with the Independent Guards Association and a January contract with the International Association of Firefighters Local 5257.

It comes as Maine has seen union membership swell in the past year. Nearly 13,000 Mainers joined a union in 2020, and the share of the state’s workforce enrolled in a union grew to 14.7 percent, the highest level seen here in decades. That number could continue to grow here depending on the outcome of the unionization drive at Maine Medical Center in Portland.