News Briefs – June 24, 2020

Union awaits invite to resume talks with Navy shipbuilder

Shipbuilders striking against Bath Iron Works in Maine are ready to resume contract negotiations once there’s an invitation from the company, union officials said June 23, the second day of a walkout.
The next move is up to the Navy shipbuilder, said Tim Suitter, spokesman for Machinists Union Local S6, which represents 4,300 production workers. “We’re ready. We’re eager to get back to negotiations,” he said.
The company’s final three-year contract proposal would have given production workers a 3 percent raise each year. But the shipbuilders’ union objected to the hiring of subcontractors and more than a dozen changes it considered to be concessions.
The vote by Machinists Union Local S6 was 87 percent in favor of a strike, and workers left their jobs June 22.
The last strike, in 2000, lasted 55 days.
Company officials said the shipyard was already six months behind on work, partly because of the pandemic. A prolonged strike would further delay delivery of destroyers, the workforce of the fleet, at a time of competition from the Chinese and Russian navies.
“We’re prepared to take as long as it takes. But obviously there is some urgency on our part with members being out of work and the Navy waiting on ships,” Suitter said. “We’d certainly like to get through it, and get a fair contact.”
Bath Iron Works is one of the Navy’s five largest shipbuilders and a major employer in Maine, with 6,800 workers. AP

Miramar Air Show canceled over virus concerns

This year’s Miramar Air Show in Southern California, billed as the world’s largest military air display, has been canceled over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced June 22.
The show, which usually draws more than 500,000 spectators, was scheduled for September at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
Col. Charles Dockery, the base’s commanding officer, made the decision as a safety measure because of “public health risks” in the midst of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak, a statement from the base said.
“`The Miramar Air Show brings in aviation enthusiasts from all across the United States and from every corner of the world,” Dockery said in the statement. “While we had initially hoped to host the show and help usher in a re-opened San Diego, there are still a great many risks posed with a mass gathering of this size and scale to do it in a way that ensures our guests’ absolute safety.”
“It remains a prudent choice to look ahead to 2021 and make it better than ever,” he said.
The base said Miramar is the largest military air show in the world. It is one of many large events that have been canceled this year because of concerns over COVID-19, including county fairs, Comic-Con in San Diego and the annual Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals.
The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in California has inched up each of the past three days and now hovers above 3,700, the highest rate since mid-March. AP

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