Contracted painters look to unionize at Vigor shipyard


The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has asked for a union election to represent 12 painters employed by Specialty Finishes, located at Portland’s Vigor Marine shipyard.

The workers do ship repair painting work, and frequently work alongside union painters represented by the Metal Trades Department.

Scott Oldham, business agent for Local 10, said the Specialty Finishes workers were aware of the large wage increases that union painters got in their recently renegotiated  Metal Trades agreement with Vigor Marine. That contributed to their union interest. Ratified in April, the new Vigor contract brought a $1.25 per hour raise immediately, another $1.30 increase on December 1 and a $1.40 raise on December 1, 2023.

Specialty Finishes workers make $22 to $27 an hour, and union painters at Vigor make between $28 and $36, Oldham said.

Painters Local 10 filed the election petition June 3. The National Labor Relations Board has not yet set an election date.

Business is slow at the shipyard right now, Oldham said, with some workers saying the yard is at an all-time low for workload. Some workers are being sent to Vigor locations in Seattle and Ketchikan, Alaska, where there’s more work.

In other Vigor Marine news, the company’s non-union location in Ketchikan has a union drive underway. Sheet Metal Workers Local 23, based in Anchorage, on May 9 filed to represent 66 ship construction and repair workers. Ballots will be counted June 29.     



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