Striking Workers Worry About Losing Health Insurance - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Striking Workers Worry About Losing Health Insurance

It's day 23 on the picket line and many of the striking Ingalls workers are starting to feel the pain of an empty wallet.

Fourteen year employee Jennifer Kelly admits that life as a striker has been financially challenging.

"It's been tough. Funds are starting to deplete, and the bills are rolling enough in," Kelly said.

On Sunday, a new bill will roll in as Northrop Grumman stops paying its share of the medical premiums for thousands of striking workers.

"It is supposed to lapse after March 31st, and we will not have no insurance," striking worker William Haggard said.

In the contract union members rejected, the monthly medical cost would start at $217 dollars. Keeping that coverage without the company's help means workers' out of pocket costs will triple.

"It is too hard to come up with $810 a month when you do not have any income coming in," Haggard said.

But that's a price William Haggard says he is willing to pay. Haggard has no plans to go back to work without a contract that offers better pay and better health coverage.

"We do not feel like we are getting enough. Our bills are high, the money we get in a raise, its taken up by the insurance."

Northrop Grumman said on Friday there are no plans to go back to the negotiating table with Union leaders anytime soon.

After three weeks walking the picket line, workers like Kelly hope company leaders will reconsider and come up with a contract that will get everyone back to work.

"The issues at hand are the insurance and wages. Discuss that."

Northrop Grumman officials say about 400 workers have walked off the picket line and returned back to work.

by Patrice Clark

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