Maine’s Congressional Delegation Urges Navy to Ease Pressure on Bath Iron Works to Keep Operating – By Scott Thistle (Portland Press Herald) / March 29 2020
Maine’s Congressional delegation is urging the U.S. Navy to allow Bath Iron Works management to provide its workers with the same level of protection from the coronavirus that the Navy is requiring for workers at its public shipyards.
Those protections include allowing workers who may be more vulnerable to severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, to stay home from work on paid administrative leave.
BIW recently agreed to allow workers to take unpaid leave if they stay home from work over concerns of falling ill. About half of BIW’s workforce has been showing up for work this week, the union said.
Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, Angus King, an independent, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, both Democrats, released their letter Friday.
“In response to this pandemic, the Navy earlier issued direction to each of its four public shipyards intended to limit the potential exposure of shipyard workers to COVID-19 while also maximizing the important national security work accomplished,” the letter said. “We urge you to provide similar guidelines to our nation’s large private shipyards, the workers at which face similar health and safety concerns, and to permit necessary contract or deadline flexibility and funding to ensure such guidance would be feasible to implement for these shipyards.”