Union rejects Company take-backs to secure contract improvements

Negotiators for shipbuilders represented by United Steelworkers Local 8888 and Huntington Ingalls Industries yesterday reached a new tentative agreement on a 60-month contract following intense meetings since talks resumed last week.

The new package increases wages, provides a first-ever Essential Employee Appreciation payment, improves pension benefits and holds the line on employee health care costs.

The proposed agreement also includes a historic domestic partner benefit.

Fred Redmond, Chief Negotiator and USW Vice President for Human Affairs, said members will soon receive a detailed summary of the tentative agreement to evaluate. He also said the local leadership is considering holding educational meetings to provide members with an opportunity to get a thorough explaination of the proposed agreement and to have their questions answered directly by negotiators.

Local 8888 President Charles Spivey said the second round of negotiations paid off. "This is a solid contract with the improvements we fought hard to win. I believe this is the best deal we could bring back to our membership at this time. We stood our ground to be treated and rewarded as Essential Shipbuilders."

No date has been set for a members-only ratification vote. But the first pay raise will be effective immediately once the agreement is ratified.