Northrop Grumman President Philip Teel is anxious to get the strike and all the hurt feelings that came with it behind them.
"I especially want everybody to know, this is one workforce," says Teel. "The strike is behind us. It's not going to be an issue when the people walk back into the yard."
And he says that very much includes the nearly 40 percent of union members who rejected the new three year contract.
"What it does say though is that our employees have issues that go beyond the economics of the contract," says Teel.
Some of those issues, Teel says, were addressed during the strike. They're things like construction management and employee relations that better reflect his own connection with the lives of his workers.
"I lived through the storm and after the storm with many of these folks. I'm incredibly impressed with their ability to pick up and go, incredibly impressed with their feelings for building a Navy ship. I mean, there's a connectivity with a ship builder that you don't get with other professionals."
Teel says other provisions in the new contract are designed to encourage and reward that kind of work ethic, such as the Attendance Bonus.
"They can make substantial money, $1,000 plus a year, if they're here every day."
And there's a Performance Bonus based on standards and quality of work.
"That's another 50 cents an hour that a person can earn if those standards are met."
Teel says if most of the striking employees return to work as scheduled next week, they should be able to quickly regain ground lost during the strike. But he says, more importantly, they hope to regain an improved employee-management relationship even sooner.
"I want folks to know we heard that too."
More than 1,100 employees returned to work Thursday. The rest are expected to report to work next Tuesday after the Easter holiday.