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January 23, 2018

BIW president says ‘pulling together’ is key to shipyard’s success

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Bath Iron Works is bidding on two major multi-ship U.S. Navy contracts that will be decided in 2018.

Bath Iron Works President Dirk Lesko is seeking to collaborate more with workers to keep the General Dynamics-owned shipyard competitive in the industry.

"When we're all pulling together and working on the same problem, the solutions are always better," Lesko said in an Associated Press report published by The Times Record.

Mike Keenan, president of Machinists Union Local S6, the largest union at BIW, told the newspaper shipyard workers are still rankled over compromises the union made under Lesko's predecessor, Fred Harris, such as having lower-wage contractors do more work on ships, that they made in hope of landing a multi-ship U.S. Coast Guard contract that ended up being awarded to a Florida shipyard.

"A lot of people took a lot on the chin to make us more competitive. If we're going to succeed, then their voices need to be heard," Keenan said.

But Jay Korman, a Navy analyst with Avascent Group in Washington, told the paper that the shipyard needed to address its reputation for being costly.

The shipyard has added 2,000 workers over the last 3 1/2 years to replace retiring workers, and will be adding hundreds more. The shipyard currently has contracts to carry the workers through 2022.

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