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Contractor for Coast Guard, Navy Reluctant to Recognize Employees’ IUPAT District 11 Union Effort

pic by Bob Plain

pic by Bob Plain

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J. Goodison employees held a rally at a Rhode Island shipyard last week. They were trying to get management to recognize their efforts to unionize. Currently there are over 30 employees who have signed union cards with International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District 11:

32 Goodison employees have signed union cards, said Jobs With Justice organizer Mike Araujo. There are 55 total employees at Goodison and about 40 have expressed interest in forming a union, he said. The employees and Jobs With Justice have been asking management to voluntarily recognize their union and they plan to file for an election this week, Araujo said. After they file for the election, they have two weeks to hold a vote. If a majority of employees vote for a union, Goodison then has one year to negotiate a contract with the union.

According to the company’s website, J. Goodison offers services ranging from drydock repairs to 24/7 emergency vessel support. They operate up and down the eastern seaboard and serve a number of government clients, including the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy. Most of the workers seeking to unionize perform challenging and dangerous jobs for the company:

They are primarily sandblasters and hydroblasters, though they perform a variety of chores for Goodison, which does work primarily for the federal government. Sandblasters remove paint from boat hulls. The paint is often highly toxic and sandblasting itself can cause permanent skin and/or eye injuries. It’s very difficult and dangerous work that takes a toll on a body. Starting wages for these workers is between $10 and $12 an hour.

State Representative Aaron Regunberg traveled from Providence to offer words of encouragement and show solidarity:

He told the employees that there are many in the General Assembly who support their struggle.

[…] “I am proud to join you all this morning. I am proud of all the workers who are standing up today to say you deserve better. You know they are not going to give you what you deserve, you have to win it. This is what the labor movement is all about. Keep fighting until you have what you deserve.”

Regunberg took to Twitter to show solidarity as well.

IUPAT District 11 represent over 1,600 members in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.


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