The following statement was received yesterday by this blogger and is the work of Local S6 at Bath Iron Works, Bath.
“Yesterday, April 2nd, 2020, Local Lodge Leadership, contacted the Director of Labor Relations regarding subcontractors that began performing our work in the shipyard. While we strongly disagree with their presence in out shipyard doing our work, we insist that our members remain safe. through our research, we realized that some of the subcontractors have traveled to our shipyard from COVID19 “Hotspots.” These states include, Louisiana, Maryland Tennessee and New Jersey. One of the gentlemen was working in Baltimore, Maryland on March 27th. We wanted any subcontractor coming from a “hotspot” to be quarantined for 14 days before gaining entry to our shipyard. This has been the practice BIW has adopted for our members. If you are a member and you have symptoms, you have a family member with symptoms or you have traveled to a state that is considered a “hotspot”, BIW will deactivate your badge, remove you from the shipyard and force you to quarantine for 14 days without pay according to the Local S6 statement.
The Director of Labor Relations said that he could not offer an opinion about the terms of the Executive Order from the Governor. (See previous post herein to read the Governor’s Executive Order on the subject). He said he would defer those questions to BIW’s legal counsel. Moments later, BIW’s attorney returned our call. He proceeded to explain that the Governor’s Executive Order doesn’t mandate a 14-day quarantine period for the subcontractors or any of our members who have been forced out of work. He proceeded to say that BIW was trying to keep its members safe. When we questioned why the subcontractors are not being quarantined like our members, he stated, “They have been vetted.”
The vetting process by BIW was only asking subcontractors verbally if they wore all their PPE on their previous job. If the subcontractor says YES, that was sufficient. The next question would then be if the subcontractor has symptoms. If the subcontractor says NO, they would be allowed to enter the shipyard. We find this double standard utterly unacceptable and irresponsible. The Union believes the subcontractor vetting process ifs putting our members at risk for COVID-19 exposure.
“We will continue to try to force BIW to do the right thing; close its facilities and pay its most valuable assets. Unfortunately, BIW only seems to be concerned with drawing money from the Navy while accomplishing next to nothing production-wise,” the statement concluded.
“Maine is not a hot-spot and we don’t want to be one. Do the right thing. Close down BIW during this pandemic,” says munjoyhillnews.com. “Remember, people over profits?”
Please see previous post herein dated April 3, 2020 for Governor’s Executive Order Restricting Travel to Maine. MHN.com believes that two BIW workers have been confirmed to have the COVID-19 and many BIW workers are staying home to protect themselves from being exposed to the coronavirus.