Shipyard Workers Protest For Equality - - The News for South Mississippi

Shipyard Workers Protest For Equality

Northrop Grumman worker Annie Turner says in two weeks, she'll celebrate 32 years working at the shipyards. But that doesn't mean it's been easy.   

"I've had to wrap my feet in rags to keep warm over the years because it's so cold," Turner says. "In the summertime it's so hot, I had to work there and endure all this. I don't think it's fair for me to be there for so long, and be overlooked for a promotion."   

Turner and other employees and activists rallied together Saturday afternoon in Moss Point to raise awareness about the unfair treatment they've experienced working for Ingalls Shipyard and Northrop Grumman.   

"The future for me, it's about over. My 32 years. I don't feel like I have much more time there. But I feel for the younger people that are coming in now, I don't want to see them have to go through the struggle I've gone through for the past 32 years," Turner says.   

Turner isn't the only longtime employee who's expressing concern. John Powe recently retired after a 40 year career with the company.   

"I worked in a department that was 65-70 percent black workers. Only one person has ever achieved a supervisor's job, and that was me. And many of them were qualified. Those are the kind of things we would like to get trained, get changed throughout the shipyard," Powe says.

While labor union representatives were not present today, Northrop Grumman representative Brian Cullen issued this statement:   

"We're proud of our commitment to excellence and diversity, and you can see that in the faces of our leaders and workforce. We plan to follow through with that commitment to constantly expand that workforce to what we see as the proper composition."   

These workers say their final request is just be treated like everyone else.

"Nobody's asking for a free lunch. All we're asking for is a fair opportunity at the jobs just like we're supposed to have," Powe says.     

To learn more about the Ingalls Workers for Justice or the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, call 1-888-949-9754.   

By Keli Rabon   

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