Bath Iron Works

BIW Workers Replace Stealthy Destroyer's 15-Ton Turbine

Aug 31, 2018

BATH, Maine - Maine shipbuilder Bath Iron Works has replaced one of the massive turbines on the future USS Michael Monsoor, and the ship is scheduled to depart for San Diego in November.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a $675 billion defense spending bill that Republican Senator Susan Collins says is good news for Maine.

“The navy must sustain an aggressive lead growth rate for large surface combatants in fiscal year 2020 and beyond in order to project strength,” says Collins.

The bill would spend $20 billion more than the current budget calls for, and Collins says it includes money for three Burke Class destroyers that could be built at Bath Iron Works.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a 2019 Defense bill that includes several provisions that benefit Maine defense industries.

The legislation authorizes more than $5 billion in funding for three new destroyers that will be built at Bath Iron Works (BIW), and it authorizes money to complete the third Zumwalt destroyer, which is currently under construction.

Senator Angus King, who serves on the committee, says the measure also authorizes a new class of frigates that could be built at BIW and keep the work force stable.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is pressing both civilian and military leadership to distribute future shipbuilding contracts to keep Bath Iron Works and its competitor in Mississippi busy.

“In the fiscal year omnibus bill Congress decided to authorize the DDG-51 multi-year," Collins said, at a budget hearing on Capitol Hill.  That will spread the construction of new Arleigh Burke class destroyers over several years.

A $45 million tax break for Bath Iron works is one step closer to becoming law. The tax break would be stretched over the next 15 years.

The Senate voted 25-9 to approve an amended version of a bill that provides a tax break to the shipbuilder in return for at least $200 million spent on construction, improvement, modernization or expansion. The company will also have to maintain at least 5,500 workers.

The original bill would have provided a $60 million tax break and without the minimum investment and workforce requirements currently in the amended version.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

With several changes, the House has approved a tax break for Bath Iron Works that will provide the shipbuilder with $45 million worth of tax relief over 15 years. But there’s a catch — in return, the company will be expected to make investments in the facility and keep the workforce at minimum levels.

The Bath shipyard’s current tax break, worth $60 million, is due to expire next year, two decades after it was first approved. But this time around, the Legislature’s Taxation Committee wanted BIW to give something in return.

Bath Iron Works has notified nearly 60 electricians that they'll be laid off this month because of a shortage of work in that area.

The shipyard notice indicates that the layoffs are effective Feb. 23, but a union official tells the Bangor Daily News that some of the workers could take jobs elsewhere. It's part of the ebb and flow at the Navy shipbuilder. Currently the shipyard has about 5,700 workers.

Mike Keenan, president of Local S6 of the Machinists union, said he understands the company will hire "several hundred" workers by the end of 2018.

A judge in Bath Thursday acquitted nine activists of criminal trespass charges in connection with a protest at Bath Iron works in April.

That's according to Logan Perkins, an attorney representing two of the nine protesters.  The group, which called themselves the "Aegis 9," and about 20 other people, came to protest the “christening” of an Aegis destroyer ship at BIW and were arrested by Bath Police when they refused to leave.

Mary Schwalm / Associated Press File

Bath Iron Works could get another tax break under legislation being considered this session in Augusta, which comes as a 20-year-old break for the shipyard is about to run out.

Mary Schwalm / Associated Press

Congress is poised to embrace the Navy’s goal of expanding from its current fleet of 275 ships to 355. Doing so will be costly — the Congressional Budget Office has estimated a price tag of more than $26 billion a year. But if the spending is approved, it will mean a ramp-up in production, and that will likely be good news for one of the state’s largest employers, Bath Iron Works.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer visited Bath Iron Works for the first time Friday, just a day after awarding the yard a contract for building two destroyers. He used the visit to praise the quality of BIW’s work, and to talk about the Navy’s plans to expand its fleet.

The two guided missile destroyers awarded to BIW this week have actually been authorized for some time. One was authorized in 2013 and the other in 2015, but the funding and the contract would take a few years more.

BATH, Maine - The U.S. Navy has awarded Maine's Bath Iron Works funding for the planning and construction of two more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
The awards were announced Thursday and were expected but are good news nonetheless.
Bath Iron Works president Dirk Lesko says the contracts "help to stabilize our business.'' He thanks Maine's congressional delegation and the Navy secretary for their efforts and leadership.

A strike at Bath Iron Works has been averted after members of the Bath Marine Draftsmen Association ratified an agreement on Saturday. The union had voted last weekend to authorize a strike if an agreement was not reached by Monday.

The union, which represents more than 700 workers, and BIW met with a federal mediator starting Wednesday. The two sides reached a tentative agreement late Friday evening.

As contract talks continue this weekend between the Bath Marine Draftsmen’s Association and Bath Iron Works, unions across the state are making plans to show support should a strike be called next week.

Should the talks fail this weekend and more than 700 members of the draftsmen’s union go on strike, the Maine AFL-CIO and BIW’s largest union, Local 6, are working on plans to stand in support.

PORTLAND, Maine - A former Maine machinists union official at Bath Iron Works who acknowledged embezzling $280,000 from the union has pleaded guilty.
Thirty-four-year-old Ryan Jones pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Portland. The Portland Press Herald reports he will be sentenced at a later date.
Jones was secretary-treasurer when he allegedly made 199 unauthorized withdrawals from the bank account of Local S6 of the machinists union in Bath.