No progress in strike

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, March 22, 2007

Officials from Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and unions striking at the Pascagoula shipyard met for the first time Wednesday since a strike began two weeks ago.

A federal negotiator brought about 50 business agents, negotiators and union representatives together for the meeting.

Union officials told the shipbuilder’s representatives that more than 60 percent of the membership wants to see a substantial raise from the one proposed and rejected two weeks ago.

The meeting ended after about 3 1/2 hours with no substantial progress, both sides said in an article at www.sunherald.com. No additional meetings have been scheduled.

The strike is in its 14th day and comes after unions at Gulfport and Louisiana shipyards accepted new contracts. Workers in Pascagoula are looking for larger raises because of the increased cost of living in the area after Hurricane Katrina.

Union officials based Wednesday’s report to management on surveys taken last week. The surveys asked how long workers expected to be on strike, how long they were willing to hold out, how much money they would go back to work for and if they had issues with benefits.

Membership of all 15 unions voted down the company’s first offer and 14 of 15 killed the second offer.