Jackson, Vitelli release statement in support of BIW workers
AUGUSTA – Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, released the following statements in support of BIW works following a vote to strike over the weekend:
“The hardworking men and women at BIW are only asking to be paid fairly for the work that they do. If you ask me, that’s not too much to ask. No matter how hard you look, you will never find a group of workers who will ever agree to allow subcontractors to come in and replace them, regardless of whether or not they are a part of a union. Right now, BIW is spending more money, taxpayer dollars I might add, to hire out-of-state workers to avoid paying their employees a decent wage. It’s unconscionable. At Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, they respect their workers and treat them as professionals. You can earn almost double working at Portsmouth for the same kind of work than at BIW. Even in Aroostook County, where wages tend to be lower than other parts of the state, employers pay more per hour for these trades than BIW.
“This is an outrageous stunt by management in order to break up a union, and quite frankly, they think that we’re all too stupid to notice – lawmakers, workers and the general public. I proudly stand in solidarity with the hardworking men and women at BIW demanding a fair wage. Bath built is best built because of these people standing on the picket line.
“I understand what BIW means to Maine’s economy, but I will never turn my back on workers who have so clearly made their case regarding unfair policies and wages. I encourage management at BIW to get back to the table and start treating these workers as part of the team – an invaluable part of the team – that makes these ships.”
“There can be no stable economy without fair wages and fair employment policies. The hardworking men and women of BIW have made a hard choice. They are standing up for what they know is right for themselves, for each other, and for their families. Corporate leadership at Bath is trying to cut corners by paying substandard wages, increasing insurance costs for workers and hiring out-of-state subcontractors. No worker wants to strike. No worker would rather stand outside their place of work holding a sign instead of working inside, doing what they do best. But a line must be drawn.
“For BIW workers, this fight is about their futures, respect for their knowledge and experience, and having a say in their work. Corporate leadership should not expect these men and women to stand aside as people from out of state are brought in to do their jobs. Bath built is best built because of the Maine workers who hold themselves to such high standards. I stand in solidarity with BIW workers, today and always.”