A CONTRACT WITH the U.S. Navy is poised to create at least 1,000 direct jobs at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin. FMM, which employs Boilermakers from Local 696 (Marinette, Wisconsin), will build the first-in-class guided missile frigate, FFG(X), for the U.S. Navy. Local 449 (Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) Boilermakers, who are employed by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, will be assisting, building various sections and modules for the FFG(X).
The contract also offers FMM an option to build nine additional ships, as well as post-delivery availability support, engineering and class services, crew familiarization, training equipment and provisioned item orders. According to an FMM press release, if all options are exercised, the cumulative value of the contract will be $5.5 billion. The potential for steady Boilermaker work could span two decades.
“This is going to be the legacy of Boilermakers Local 696 to not only build the first-in-class FFG(X), but also be awarded the entire contract when, historically, the Navy has split contracts,” said International Rep Stephen “JR” Bowen. “But the real excitement for me is watching Local 696 and Local 449 grow. As a result of this project alone, L-696 will be twice its size, and it will add 100-150 more Boilermakers at L-449. We’re looking at a guaranteed 10-15 years of work, plus an additional 10-15 years if we’re awarded the rest of the contract.”
Winning the contract was several years in the making, and FMM was in competition with several other major U.S. shipyards for the work.
“When we began this journey nearly two years ago, it was with the belief that there was a place for new ideas, new platforms and new partners in an already talented U.S. shipbuilding industry,” Fincantieri Marine Group CEO Dario Deste said in the company’s official press release on April 30. “Today’s announcement validates that thinking.”
The Boilermakers union was a strong advocate alongside FMM in bringing the contract to Marinette Marine. FMM CEO Jan Allman set up opportunities for Boilermakers to position with key decision makers Fincantieri’s work quality and the importance of bringing work to the Midwest.
“Many understand how important these ships will be to the Navy, and I want to emphasize that where these ships are built matters so much for so many hard-working Americans,” IVP-Great Lakes Larry McManamon wrote in a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump. “We are working hard to keep a skilled and experienced workforce employed here in the Midwest.”
McManamon and Bowen met in Washington, D.C. with Dr. Peter Navarro, who is Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and other Trump Administration staff.
“We explained to them that this is what Boilermakers do—that there are no finer craftsmen than Boilermakers,” Bowen said. “We also outlined what it would mean to the Midwest workforce. About 40% of FMM workers are from the Menominee, Michigan, area; so, the work really feeds at least two states.”
In addition to boosting the work for Local 696 and Local 449 Boilermakers, the contract also offers potential additional work for industrial and construction sector Boilermakers in neighboring Midwest states.
“This is a very exciting time for the Boilermakers as a whole to get back to our grassroots in shipbuilding,” said Bowen.
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