JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - More than 7,000 union workers at Ingalls Shipbuilding have overwhelmingly passed a four-year contract extension.
Business owners and retailers in Jackson County relieved, seeing as more workers means more potential customers.
Tim O'Flynn, owner of Economy Boots, was keeping his fingers crossed during contract negotiations at Ingalls.
"They are the largest employer in Mississippi so it does make us sit back and and go, what's going on, how's this going to play out," O'Flynn explained. Those 11,000 workers at Ingalls wear a lot of boots, according to O'Flynn.
He stated, "Oh, there's going to be a boost. There's no doubt about it. Everybody needs work boots and we sell a very unique style of work boot."
At Wayne Lee's Grocery, news of the contract extension spread quickly up and down the aisles. Cash registers should be ringing with holiday cheer, according to employee Mary Tylicki.
"I think it will be pretty good, considering they'll be getting money in their pockets right before Christmas. It will help them to shop for their groceries, their Christmas dinner and also for their families at Christmas time," Tylicki said.
Car dealers are optimistic as well. With four years of solid and profitable work ahead for Ingalls workers, it could mean an influx of people wanting to upgrade the family vehicle.
That's the word from salesman Tim Odom. "I think the contract takes a lot of pressure off people. They'll be more relaxed and purchasing vehicles also," Odom stated.
One major highlight of the contact extension is a bonus paid totaling $5,000 to the employees at Ingalls. To local businesses, that means a lot of purchasing power.
Jimmy Smith is the president and CEO of Singing River Federal Credit Union. "This will lead to more loans, lead to greater savings for those people that will be able to keep their jobs. We're elated to see this because it has such an impact overall on the Jackson County economy," Smith explained.
Tylicki at Wayne Lee's couldn't agree more. He said, "It shows that we're on an upswing in the economy and I think it's going to be great for Pascagoula."
The two $2500 dollar bonuses will be paid on December the 18th, and then again, next March.