Thirteen unions representing 7,000 Ingalls workers started negotiations with Northrup Grumman officials Monday. The unions are trying to prevent a $100/month increase in their insurance benefits package. Right now hourly workers pay $50/month.
Every worker WLOX news spoke to hopes the negotiations will succeed. In 1999, a strike at Ingalls left thousands of workers without paychecks for three weeks.
Ingalls worker Jesse Tomek says, "you are kind of bound by union sanctions saying that you got to honor the picket line, even though your family needs groceries, you need to make the bills and so forth, but you got to honor the picket lines."
But hardly any of the workers we spoke to want to be in that position again.
"I hope they get everything straightened out and that we don't have to strike," worker Gary Raines says.
Monday was just the first day of negotiations. None of the union leaders have threatened the company with a strike. It is just one of the possibilities both sides hope to avoid.