Workers could strike at shipyards in Portland and Seattle

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By Don McIntosh

By more than a 95% margin, workers at shipyards in Portland and Seattle have voted to authorize a strike if the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department can’t get an acceptable contract.

The two shipyards, operated by Vigor Marine, employ a total of about 600 members of the Boilermakers, IBEW, Painters, Laborers, Sheet Metal, Pipefitters, Machinists, Teamsters,  and Operating Engineers. Their contract expired Nov. 30.

“Based on what the membership reported in their surveys, we’re a long ways apart on economics,” said Ben Heurung, Western Region general representative for the Metal Trades Department. “I have no doubt that we will reach an agreement. How long it will take, that I’m uncertain of.”

At a time of renewed inflation, Vigor is offering wage increases of $0.35, $0.60, and $0.75 in a three-year contract, plus a $1,250 signing bonus if  ratified by Dec. 31.

The two sides have further negotiations scheduled for Dec. 20 and 22.

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