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Shipyard uses skills as basis for hiring, layoffs.

Shipyard uses skills as basis for hiring, layoffs

In the shipbuilding industry, the initial contract between West State, Inc. of Portland, OR, and the Metal Trades Council sets skill and ability-rather than seniority-as the determinant in hiring and layoff actions. The shipyard, which has been in operation for 18 months, said it signed a union contract because the pool of skilled labor in the 10 crafts represented by the Metal Trades Council enables it to quickly undertake and complete large projects. Under the new approach, which applies to eight of the crafts, West State will decide which employees to hire. If the company's list of preferred workers is exhausted, further hiring will be on a seniority basis. Similarly, when projects are completed, the company will decide which employees to lay off. Exceptions are crafts represented by the Machinists and Carpenters unions, which will continue under traditional seniority rules. In return, members of these two unions will be compensated at $1 an hour less than the other crafts, whose wage rates will move to $14 an hour plus $3.31 for benefits during the 1 -year contract term.

All of the crafts agreed to changes in work rules intended to increase efficiency. According to a union official, the crafts have about 3,000 members in the Portland area, who now work an average 9 months a year, compared with 5 or 6 months a few years ago. West State employs 200 to 800 workers, depending on business levels.
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations.
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Aug 1, 1988
Previous Article:Pattern contracts in apparel industry.
Next Article:More settlements at The New York Times.

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