Northrop Grumman Union Workers Go On Strike - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Northrop Grumman Union Workers Go On Strike

When clock struck nine Thursday morning, thousands of union employees dropped their tools and walked out of the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. In a matter of minutes they had homemade picket signs in their hands.

"We want the money, that is what's up," Carlos Stringfield said.

"Cost of living is up not my paycheck."

The official strike word came from union leaders in Washington.

Walking off the job isn't the first choice for most, but all on the picket line believe a strike is the best option.

"When they told us to leave at nine o'clock it was a funny feeling that I had, but I realize that it was unity among the people," Maola Miles said.

"When you go into a strike, you have to look at it in the long haul. If you're going to get what you want, you have stick through it together."

And that they did, as workers honked, chanted and cheered to show support for the strike.

Ingalls workers say by the end of the proposed, three year contract, they would be in the hole because of higher healthcare premiums and the rising cost of living.

"We need a dental plan. We have not had one yet," Jeffery Taylor said.

"The cost of living has jumped, insurance has increased, and we need better benefits as the insurance goes," Miles said.

"Workers should not have to pay as much as we are paying. We need a cost of living raise. We are here and I hope it [the strike] lasts forever 'til we get what we need and want."

Union member Carlos Stringfield summed up the mood on picket line.

"If you stand up and tell me that I am your greatest asset, well, show me. And the way you show me that is by the way you're paying me," Stringfield said.

Work continues at Northrop Grumman's three other shipyards where workers voted this week in favor of a new contract.

by Patrice Clark

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