Dear BIW Colleagues,
BIW is committed to continuing its support for the U.S. Navy and contributing to the nation’s defense. Since the IAM Local S6 led production and maintenance employees off the job on June 22, the company has taken necessary steps to continue critical production tasks. We have redeployed hundreds of salaried employees into the shipyard and existing contractors have continued their work. The company also has begun the process of engaging with contractors to provide additional workers to supplement those already working here who will further support shipyard production during the strike.
However, all of these efforts still leave our production levels well below typical operations and even further below where we need to be. As a result, some functions that directly support production are beginning to run out of work to do. The first functions impacted by this are Surveyors and Trades Inspectors. While we have explored all available options to reassign impacted employees to other jobs, unfortunately no such opportunities are available. Therefore, today we will begin the temporary layoff process for Surveyors and Trades Inspectors in accordance with the Local S7 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The process starts by offering voluntary layoffs. If the number of volunteers does not address the overstaffing in these functions, we will follow the contract and move to involuntary layoffs by seniority. While these layoffs are temporary in nature, their impact on employees and their families is real and immediate. At a time when we are behind schedule, it is frustrating to be sending our employees home. However, the disruption of the strike leaves no other option.
At BIW, we are committed to increasing our production levels. We have hired over 2,000 employees since 2018 and need to hire at least 1,000 more in 2020. General Dynamics and the Navy are investing in our facilities and our supply chain to increase throughput. We must continue to work diligently to gain back schedule so that we can keep our people at work. I know many of you are working hard to do just that and I appreciate your efforts. It also sends a welcome message to our Navy customers that we take seriously our commitment to deliver their ships to them.
For more information on Local S6 negotiations at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, click here.