Union's ruling on BIW officers could come in May

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BATH — The result of a union hearing involving three suspended officers of Bath Iron Works’ largest union could come sometime next month, according to a spokesman for Local S6’s parent union.

Proceedings began Monday and were to continue as long as needed, said John Carr, spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Wednesday was the trial’s third day.

The officers – Mike Keenan, Mike Cyr and Cathy London – faced a preliminary inquiry last month to determine whether enough evidence existed for a formal hearing to take place into allegations that they mismanaged the local.

Now going forward with that hearing, IAM International President Thomas Buffenbarger appointed a trial committee composed of three members of the IAM from around the country who have no ties to the area, BIW or the local, Carr said.

Following the hearing, the committee will make a recommendation to Buffenbarger, who will then hand down his own decision on the matter, Carr said. An appeal process could also follow.

The local officers were removed in March 2008, and the local was placed under trusteeship. A letter at the time from Buffenbarger charged Local S6 with financial improprieties and allowing pornography to be viewed on union computers.

Keenan, who was the local union president, continues to maintain he did nothing wrong and is being punished for disagreeing with IAM leadership.

“This hearing is simply an illusion to make things appear as though I am getting a fair shake when it is nothing short of a lynching,” he said in an e-mail on Tuesday. “I am defending myself against three staff members that work for the gentleman I have a lawsuit against. It doesn’t matter what I request, who I request, I am told these are not court proceedings and then my requests are denied.”

Last May, Keenan, Cyr and London – along with former officer Troy Osgood, who has since resigned – filed a lawsuit against IAM charging in part that the parent union deliberately took actions to suppress dissent in the local.

“I have faith in the court system, but wish it would come soon,” Keenan said, “so I can finally have my day of reckoning in front of a real judge and jury.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.