On June 22, shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, went on strike due to a contract dispute over proposed takebacks by management involving subcontracting, work rules, and seniority. The strike began after 87 percent of workers voted in favor of the strike, with about 4,300 workers walking out. On Monday, June 29, they entered their second week on the picket lines. While management moved to reopen negotiations last week, union officials say it was a bad faith gesture since they refused to renegotiate some of the main concerns of the strikers. Shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works were deemed essential workers and have been forced to work throughout the pandemic. The last time they went on strike was in 2000 and it lasted 55 days.
Amid the coronavirus crisis it is no surprise that these workers have to fight for job protections. Politicians and capitalists have made it very clear that they are willing to throw away human life to protect the bottom line. While no one can predict what will be the outcome of the strike, it’s clear that if we want to protect ourselves from economic devastation or the coronavirus, we are all going to have to fight to do this.
featured image credit: Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press