Ingalls Contract Given Thumbs Down

A majority of unions at Ingalls Shipyard turned down a 3 1/2 year contract proposal Friday.  About 1200 members voted for the contract, but almost 1650 said no to the proposal. The contract would have raised pay more than $1.20 per hours over the life of the contract, and also provided for 5000 dollars in bonus payments. But substantial increases in health insurance premiums apparently was too much for Ingalls workers to approve.  Another union votes today and another rejection could lead to the second strike at Ingalls in the past three years.

There are several options now.  Workers could vote to extend the current contract and keep working, or go on strike as soon as Monday morning.  Or a federal mediator could order both sides back to the bargaining table as soon as this weekend.

Company officials were taken back by the voting results. "We are disappointed that the new agreement negotiated by the Company and the Metals Trades Council representatives was not ratified by the members of the affiliated unions," said Dr. Phillip A. Dur, President, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.  "The proposal the Company offered was extremely fair, particularly in
view of current economic conditions, especially with the increase in health care costs.  Two Unions will vote tomorrow and we would urge members to consider thoroughly all aspects of the propsal.  We will evalauate our future options."