Union Leaders Tight-Lipped Before Negotiation Meeting - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Union Leaders Tight-Lipped Before Negotiation Meeting

Leaders from all 15 unions left their meeting Monday afternoon saying they reached a unified consensus. But that was about all they had to say.

When asked if union leaders felt confident going into Wednesday's meeting with company officials, Pascagoula Metal Trades Council President Mike Crawley said he would not comment.

Even though union leaders say they're remaining quiet about Monday's talks, Union members behind the gates had plenty to say.

"I don't want them to settle for anything. I want them to settle for what we ask for," Carpenter's union member Marcus Richardson says.

Richardson says he's ready for his union leaders to talk with Northrop Grumman officials.

"I hope they represent us to the fullest. I hope they go to the company, present what we asked for, and let them know we are not gonna come back to work for small wages. We want to come back to work for what we ask for," Richardson says.

Union members are asking for higher wages, lower health care premiums, and expanded coverage. Union leaders aren't giving specific numbers, but the picketers all say the same thing.

"Two, one and one.  A $4 increase over the next three years," Sheet metal union member Martin Coate says.

Those on the picket lines say their message is clear, and they hope Northrop Grumman officials are listening.

"I hope the company offers something very fair. Something that every union member can live with. In the past, they have not treated us right. They always throw a bone on the table," Carpenter's Union member Roger Johnson says.

Northrop Grumman officials, union leaders, and a federal mediator will all meet Wednesday morning.

By Keli Rabon

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