BATH – Bath Iron Works has notified its largest union that 39 employees will be laid off Dec. 15 because of a lack of production work.
Rock Grenier, president of Local S6 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said 15 carpenters, 20 electricians and four riggers will be laid off.
Individual workers will receive layoff notices next week. By contract, union officials must be notified first.
“This one came as a surprise,” said Grenier, who was called into BIW’s corporate offices Friday morning. “This is going to be one hell of a Christmas for these workers.”
The layoffs, determined by seniority, come less than two months after Local S6 approved a 42-month contract to end an eight-week strike.
There have been 322 layoffs since strikers went back to work, according to BIW spokeswoman Susan Pierter.
That includes 219 members of Local S6 laid off effective Friday, and 64 members of the Bath Marine Draftsmen Association, whose layoffs take effect Dec. 8.
Grenier said there seems to be plenty of work.
“We’re building ships, but I can’t speak for what is going on in other areas of the company,” he said.
Grenier said there was a chance some workers might be retrained or qualified to work as welders. He said BIW is looking to fill about 75 welder openings.
Pierter would not speculate on employment prospects for 2001, but said BIW does not anticipate additional layoffs before the end of the year.
“In the construction process there are peaks and valleys,” she said. “The needs for certain disciplines change. The layoffs were unavoidable.”
BIW, which builds ships for the Navy, is the largest private employer in Maine with about 7,400 workers.