Ingalls Workers Back On The Job In Pascagoula

Thousands of union members returned to work Tuesday at Northrop Grumman's shipyard in Pascagoula. For most, it was the first day back under a new three year contract.

For almost a month, workers held a strike as their leaders negotiated a more lucrative contract from the shipbuilder.

"I was anxious, I was ready to get here, go to work," Shelia Workman said.

"I feel pretty good going back. It's about time," Jimmy Briggs said. "We got a cost of living raise in the contract. That means if things go up, we get a few pennies or a few dollars."

Workers will get a $1.68/hour raise the first year, and $.55/hour raises in each of the two remaining years. There are also a few new bonuses, including extra vacation time. That was enough for union member Sheila Workman to vote "yes."

"I think this is a good opportunity. Northrop Grumman is here to stay. Hopefully, I am here for the long run," Workman said.

But other union members weren't so eager to walk back through the shipyard gates.

"I feel like they still whipped us," Donny Smith said. "All we were asking for is $2, $1 and $1. They're already making the money, so why not pay the workers that are making the money for them?"

Smith's comments are in line with about 40 percent of the workers who voted against the new contract. He didn't think it was enough to come back to work.

"I feel I am back because this is our job, but I really think they should have stayed out until they gave us what we wanted," Smith said.