Maritime Jobs
Friday, May 24, 2024

New Union Deal Aims to Boost US Navy Shipbuilding Workforce

May 1, 2024

Attendees of the signing of the National Ship Building Supplemental Workforce Agreement between International Brotherhood of Boilermakers International President Warren Farley (seated, center left) and Bartlett Maritime Corporation CEO Edward Bartlett jr. (seated, center right), presented to Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy Steve Brock (seated, left) in Cleveland on April 29, 2024. (Courtesy photo by Hunter Stires)

Attendees of the signing of the National Ship Building Supplemental Workforce Agreement between International Brotherhood of Boilermakers International President Warren Farley (seated, center left) and Bartlett Maritime Corporation CEO Edward Bartlett jr. (seated, center right), presented to Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy Steve Brock (seated, left) in Cleveland on April 29, 2024. (Courtesy photo by Hunter Stires)

A new union deal aims to help bolster the workforce of the U.S. Navy shipbuilding and repair industrial base, which has struggled alongside many other sectors to attract and retain the volume of employees needed to achieve efficient operations.

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) and the Bartlett Maritime Corporation (BMC) have signed an agreement as part of ongoing efforts to mobilize skilled workers across the Midwest in support of critical Navy programs.

It permits Bartlett to recruit Boilermaker construction sector members to work in naval shipbuilding as part of rotational teams to be trained by Bartlett Maritime under a contract with NAVSEA and deployed to naval shipyards nationwide. The first stage will focus on the more than 7,000 Boilermakers eligible for this training program across Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota and Minnesota.

The signed National Ship Building Supplemental Workforce Agreement was presented in Cleveland to Steve Brock, a senior advisor sent by Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro sent his Senior Advisor. 

“This is innovative,” said IBB International president Warren Fairley. “It’s always a battle in times when unemployment is low to find enough people to build the ships we need to supply the Navy.”

Creating a dedicated pathway for qualified construction welders to receive the requisite supplementary training and certifications to work on naval shipbuilding programs will give shipyards greater access to skilled workers and will give Boilermaker construction members a steady source of employment across seasonal swings in the civilian construction market. “This agreement is an incredible opportunity for those people,” Fairley added.

“With this agreement, everyone wins. More union job opportunities. More highly qualified skilled tradespeople to support urgent national security requirements,” said BMC CEO Edward Bartlett Jr. “This is an example of how a company and organized labor can work together to achieve great things for all parties – and for our nation’s security.”

Earlier this month, Secretary Del Toro and senior members of his staff met with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and members of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s cabinet in Marinette, Wisconsin to discuss federal, state and local initiatives to leverage those states’ skilled workforce to ensure timely completion and delivery of the Constellation-class frigate at Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

As Secretary Del Toro reaffirmed following those engagements, “America’s Northern Coast is our nation’s manufacturing heartland. I am determined to fully harness the Midwest’s industrial might and renowned workers on behalf of American seapower.”

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