Union Members Put Family, Pay On the Line During Strike - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Union Members Put Family, Pay On the Line During Strike

"We survived Katrina; we can survive anything," shipfitter Carl McCaskill says.  

Workers say they've had practice before Thursday's strike in making it through tough times. As they hold up signs, and yell at passing trucks, these workers won't get paid as long as they're striking. Union leaders say health insurance will soon expire too.

Pipefitter, Lisa Gonzalea is a single mother of four. When asked how she would feed her kids, Gonzales says, "I got family. I got churches; they'll pull for me. I got backup."  

Striking workers say they're making this stand for their families. In the parking lot, it's a different kind of family forming. As one worker said, the shipyard brothers and sisters will take care of each other.

"You cut wood, look for a job, whatever it takes. If I got a loaf of bread, we share that loaf of bread. Somebody got some hamburger meat, they'll share that hamburger meat. We gotta stand up and let these people know, we're sick and tired of being walked over, looked over, and not respected as a classman," McCaskill says.  

Though Northrop Grumman officials have yet to comment on the strike or future negotiations, union members say the future of the company depends on these shipbuilders.

"They need us just as much as we need them. You can have all the engineers and vice presidents, but if you don't have my blood, sweat and tears making these ships, then they don't have anything," McCaskill says.

Gonzales says she will be out there for a month if it is necessary.

"Yeah, if it takes a year, I'll be out here," Gonzales says. 

Northrop Grumman has not issued a statement regarding Thursday's strike.

Workers say they will stay at the yard 24 hours, 7 days a week in shifts until a new offer is made.

By Keli Rabon

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