Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Friday, April 06, 2018

BIW/GD story still has legs....

I discovered this letter yesterday on the Local S6 Machinists union Facebook page.  Immediately after the state legislature in Maine approved the General Dynamics (GD) corporate welfare bill of $45 million the company laid off 31 shipyard workers.  The union is not happy about it.

S6 is the largest union at BIW (representing over 3,500 workers) and they refused to endorsed the bill to give corporate welfare to GD after workers were evenly divided on the issue at a membership meeting.

Then in this morning's Bangor Daily News they have a top of the mast front page of the State section article entitled: As [Governor] LePage OKs $45M tax break, BIW union lashes out about layoffs.

The article states in part: 

One day after Gov. Paul LePage signed into law a $45 million tax break for Bath Iron Works, leaders of the shipyard’s largest union blasted the management for laying off 31 employees while hiring for new positions.

In a leaflet distributed Thursday at the shipyard, leaders of Local S6 of the Machinists Union wrote that the 31 layoffs announced Friday are in addition to 27 employees still out of work due to previous layoffs, whom Local S6 president Mike Keenan said Thursday have been denied new positions.

“It’s time they look at it through the eyes of the folks getting laid off,” Keenan said. “It’s easy making a decision when you’re the guy sitting behind the desk. Try being the person who’s receiving the pink slip … maybe they should look back at the words they said in Augusta.”

In addition I received a message this morning from Rhode Island journalist Alex Nunes (who broke the GD buybacks story and DeChant emails with BIW) who wrote:

Maine folks, I have signed a legal agreement with the Law Office of David Sinclair, which has generously agreed to represent me pro bono in challenging the Bath Police Department's denial of my Freedom of Access Act request seeking documents related to the planning of policing protests at the Bath Iron Works shipyard. As many of you recall, Maine Superior Court Justice criticized police in open court for allowing the department to be "outsourced" to the company. Police Chief Michael Field said he could not disclose information relevant to this case, citing a law that exempts documents related to planning for possible terrorist activity. David Sinclair told me recently there is "no applicability of the terrorism exemption with respect to your request." Sinclair is a former Bath City councilman and a passionate defender of Freedom of Access. This article I posted previously summarizes the details of the case.

See a Nunes background article on this story here

So on it goes here in Maine as BIW/GD can't stay out of the media.  Can there be any doubt that the Bath Police Department, some local media, and the state legislature have been outsourced to BIW/GD?

Expect more as the ripples keep coming....



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