Vigor shipyard workers vote to extend contract to Sept. 1


Shipyard workers at Vigor Industrial LLC subsidiaries in Oregon and Washington voted overwhelmingly Feb. 13 to extend their collective bargaining agreements to Sept. 1, 2017. In return, workers received a 90-cent-an-hour raise, retroactive to Dec. 5, 2016.

Metal trades craft unions represent approximately 700 workers at Vigor Marine Portland, Cascade General Portland, Washington Marine Repair Seattle, Vigor Marine Seattle, and Vigor Shipyard Seattle. Vigor Marine Portland and Vigor Marine Seattle operate as a single company. All are subsidiaries of Vigor Industrial LLC.

Union contracts at the Vigor properties are bargained by the Metal Trades Council of Portland and Vicinity, the Puget Sound Metal Trades Council, and Boilermakers Local 104. A master agreement that covers all locations is under the direction of the national Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO.

Local area collective bargaining agreements at all of the properties expired Nov. 30, 2016. The master agreement at those properties was set to expire June 1, 2017, but it, too, was extended to Sept. 1.

The extension agreement will give the sides more time to address ongoing problems with the funding status of some of the multi-employer pension plans that cover some Vigor employees, said Pat Christensen, president of the Portland Metal Trades Council.

Christensen, a union rep for Plumbers and Fitters Local 290, said a labor-management subcommittee has been created, and will meet with pension trusts from the Machinists, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Boilermakers to determine what solutions might be available. Those pension plans are currently underfunded and in a federally-mandated rehabilitation plan.

The sides also will continue to bargain contract language and  economics, Christensen said.

Nearly a dozen craft unions are affiliated with the respective metal trades councils in Oregon and Washington. They include Plumbers and Fitters, Machinists, Electricians, Laborers, Painters, Operating Engineers, Teamsters, Sheet Metal Workers, Insulators, and Boilermakers.


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