Northrop Grumman, union reps called back to bargaining table

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Northrop Grumman is expected to present a new contract proposal Monday in an effort to get thousands of striking crafts workers off the picket line and back to shipbuilding.

Company officials and representatives from the unions at its Ingalls shipyard had been called back to the bargaining table by the federal mediator assigned to the negotiations.

The existing work contract ended on March 4.

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The workers walked off the job on March 8 after twice rejecting company contract offers. Workers at other Northrop shipyards in Gulfport and in Avondale and Tallulah in Louisiana approved the contracts.

The best wage offer the company has made is $2.50 an hour phased in over three years, which was voted down by the union membership. Union leaders have countered with $4 an hour in raises phased in at $2, $1 and $1.

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

This past 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.