Tupelo • Could a strike at a rival shipyard have helped Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula?
Consider this: Some 4,300 union workers at Bath Iron Works in Maine have been on strike since June 22. Bath – owned by General Dynamics – and Ingalls are the only two companies that build the U.S Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
On Monday, it was announced Ingalls had won a $936 million contract to build another destroyer. It already has contracts for four, and this fifth one is scheduled to be delivered in 2027.
The new contract also includes options for engineering change proposals, design budgeting requirements and post-delivery availabilities, which if exercised, would increase the cumulative contract value to $947.6 million.
Mississippi Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, as well as Congressman Steven Palazzo, through their committee assignments, worked to support authorization and appropriations measures to maintain and grow the shipbuilding industry in Mississippi.
As for the strike at Bath Iron Works, the U.S. Navy’s top weapons buyer is “very concerned” about it.
“Obviously, we’re very concerned with the dispute right now up at (Bath Iron Works,” said James “Hondo” Geurts, assistant Navy secretary for research, development, and acquisition, according to Defenseone.com
“The Navy’s expectations are that the leaders of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers work very diligently and with a sense of urgency to come to an agreement so that we can get out ship construction keep it on track,” Geurts said.
There are six Arleigh Burke-class destroyers under construction in the shipyard as well as the final Zumwalt-class destroyer, Breaking Defense said
The yard has a total of 11 warships in its backlog and is running about six months behind schedule on its current work.
The union’s concerns center on the company’s proposals to hire subcontractors and to change to workers’ assignments based on seniority.
In an emailed statement, BIW spokesman David Hench said the shipyard “is focused on activating its business continuity plan. In the near-term, this includes continued shipyard production with salaried personnel and others reporting to work. The company and the union have not discussed returning to the bargaining table, and there currently is no time frame for doing so.”