Northrop hopes to meet next week with leaders of striking unions

Published 11:02 pm Saturday, March 31, 2007

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems wants to meet with leaders of the striking unions at the beginning of next week, and workers hope the company will offer a proposal strong enough to resolve the strike and get people back to work at the Ingalls shipyard.

The shipyard has been on strike since March 8, when all but one of the 15 unions voted down the company’s last proposal. A company spokesman Friday said the meeting will likely be called for the beginning of the week.

The strike entered its 23rd day on Friday.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Earlier this week, union leaders asked Northrop Grumman Ship System’s President Philip Teel for a meeting Monday, but said the company did not commit to that date. As of Friday evening, neither the Pascagoula Metal Trades Council, which represents 11 of the 15 unions, nor the independent electrical Local 733, the largest of the independent unions, had received a call from the federal mediator assigned to the labor negotiations. It’s the mediator who calls both parties back to the bargaining table.

Meanwhile, medical insurance for about 7,000 workers affected by the strike will run out Saturday. The workers on strike no longer have a contract, and for April, interim insurance will cost them $810.

Thursday was the last day workers could return to work in the yard’s four-day work week and keep their insurance benefits at the company cost of $144 a month.