Northrop employees mixed over possible schedule change - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Northrop employees mixed over possible schedule change

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - At 4:30 on the dot Monday through Thursday, the shift changes at Northrop Grumman's Pascagoula shipyard.  The company said it is considering adding Friday to the list.

In recent years, Northrop Grumman's Pascagoula shipbuilders have worked 10 hour days, four days per week.  Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Gulf Coast Vice President and General Manager Irwin Edenzon told employees in a letter the company might switch to eight hour work days, five days a week.

"I can confirm that Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Gulf Coast is currently evaluating the possibility of returning to a five-day, eight-hour workweek schedule," said Edenzon in the letter.  "This evaluation is based on our responsibility to continually evaluate all factors that impact our business. Our work schedule is obviously one of those factors."

The letter went on to say, "In order to reach our potential, we must address the productivity and quality improvement challenges that come with being the best at what we do.  I am committed to examining every aspect of every function, process and policy that impacts our ability to work safely, build quality ships and meet cost and schedule targets. This is the way we will ensure our future at NGSB-GC [Northrop Grumman Ship Building- Gulf Coast]."

"For the company, it might be good for them, but some of the peoples, its not going to be good for us," said Beverly Wells, a shipyard employee.

Beverly Wells said when the four day schedule began years ago, she opposed it.  But since then, she's come to depend on her Fridays off.

"It started working for me, going to the doctors on Fridays," said Wells.  "I don't know how it will go because I'll be missing more time because I got to go to the doctors."

"It's going to cost more gasoline to get to work," said Lewis Posey, another employee.  "It's going to take another day of driving, especially the ones that live an hour and a half or two hours away.  I think its going to hurt the morale of the company."

Almost all the Northrop Grumman employees who spoke to WLOX opposed the schedule change.  But one man said once the summer heat sets in, shorter days could have a big benefit.

"It's rough out there in the ships and the hulls and everything. In the summertime, it's really hot out there," said Wade Dethloff.  "But I think it might be easier on the workers, you know, at least in the summertime because of the heat."

Shorter days sound nice to Jamie Jamal Jones as well.

"I feel okay about it," said Jones.  "It's going to be earlier in the day when we get off, and a little later when we get here."

Whether they're for or against the change, many of these employees say they'll still come to work no matter what.

"When they know you need a job, they can do what they want to do," said Wells.  "So we're between a rock and a hard place."

The report didn't say when a final decision would be made.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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