Unions ask shipyard to temporarily shut down

March 24, 2020 GMT

The leaders of two unions on Tuesday asked Bath Iron Works to shut down temporarily as large numbers of workers failed to show up after learning that a shipbiulder had tested positive for the coronavirus.

More than half of workers failed to report to work on Tuesday, Machinists Union Local S6 President Chris Wiers said. “Production is low and people are scared,” he said.

Wiers and Jessica Chubbuck-Goodwin, president of Machinists Local S7, asked that the shipyard be closed and employees be allowed to go home with pay. They were joined on a teleconference Tuesday by Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Dirk Lesko, shipyard president, told workers in a memo that the shipyard remains open because the president declared that the work is essential to the national defense. “I deeply appreciate the efforts of so many BIW employees to come to work under such trying circumstances,” he wrote.

The worker who tested positive for the coronavirus was last at the shipyard on March 13. No new cases have been reported at the shipyard.