Workers at Ingalls vote for contract extension

PASCAGOULA -- Union workers at Ingalls shipyard today voted to extend their current labor contract for three years, a move that affects 6,000 employees at the yard, the state's largest private employer.

Union officials who conducted the election all day today, said a little over 1,100 members of the largest union, Metal Trades, voted on the proposal by the company to extend the contract. It passed with 60 percent of the vote. More than 300 workers in the electrical union voted and it passed there by 80 percent.

What the employees will get from Ingalls is a $1,000 bonus before Christmas and three raises over the next three years. They also will have to shoulder higher health care costs, which will be increased by increments, over the next three years.

The offer was snapped up by the workers because of the down economy, union officials said. It applies to the Avondale and Gulfport yards as well Ingalls, but does not affect the Newport News yard in Virginia. All are under the parent company Huntington Ingalls Industries. Read more in Friday's Sun Herald.