Union workers prepare to strike after employment contract dispute

Unions first came into existence as a way to ensure that workers' rights were protected. These organizations still serve a vital purpose, especially in situations where workers and employers are unable to reach an accord during an employment contract dispute. These unions work hard to ensure that employees are not forced to concede key points when its time for contracts to be renewed. It is likely that many California workers have been well represented by their unions in these circumstances. 

Recently, it was reported that more than 700 workers were preparing to strike when the latest contract was voted down. The workers are a part of the Draftsmen Association and are comprised mainly of technicians and designers who are tasked with drafting the designs for ships as well as the technical aspects for them for the shipbuilding company. The union is rejecting the demand that an important non-economic benefit is on the table for cuts.

The proposed 54-month contract provides for two increases in salary, retirement benefits and paid time off. However, the company wants to reduce the flex time benefits that workers consider an important benefit that also increases company morale. The flex time allows for employees to begin and end their workday at various times, which they claim makes it easier to care for loved ones and attend to personal needs while still putting in their required work hours. Reductions in flex time purportedly results in less paid time off and would create a hardship for the employees who count on it. 

A federal mediator has been tasked with attempting to help both sides resolve this employment contract dispute without the need for a prolonged strike. Other affiliated unions have stated their intentions to support the draftsmen in ways that their own contracts will allow. The company has stated that a strike would not cause undue hardship in the short term; however, it claims to be working diligently to resolve the issues. California workers who find themselves in a similar situation that threatens key points, are assured of the right to seek the assistance of a seasoned attorney who can provide the assistance needed to reach a satisfactory solution. 

Source: pressherald.com, "Hundreds of Bath Iron Works employees gear up for strike next week", Peter Mcguire, Sept. 22, 2017

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