Newport News Shipbuilding Reaches Contract With United Steelworkers

File image courtesy HHI

Published Mar 8, 2022 9:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

Members of the United Steelworkers at Newport News Shipbuilding have voted in favor of a new labor contract that provides more pay and more generous benefits. The contract covers 10,000 workers at the world's sole shipbuilding yard for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, and it ensures that NNS' critical national-security mission will continue uninterrupted. 

"We worked diligently with our union partners to reach a fair agreement, and are pleased that the new contract continues to provide the pay and benefits that our union employees expect," 

According to the USW, the agreement provides  $18,700 in new wages and $4,000 in lump sum bonuses over the 60-month term of the contract. It also includes a first-time $2,000 "essential pay" bonus for workers who are vaccinated; a new domestic partner benefit; an eight hours of annual leave; and a monthly boost to the pension payment to future retirees.

An earlier version of the contract was voted down in November 2021. NNS management and USW negotiators returned to the table in January and resumed negotiations and came up with a revised agreement. The second balloting was conducted by mail, and it drew in "thousands more members" to vote, USW chief negotiator Fred Redmond said. 

"This is a proud union with a new generation emerging in the shipyard. This contract gives them solid footing to flourish," he said in a statement.

For NNS and parent company Huntington Ingalls, it provides a measure of continuity and certainty. The UWS last went out on strike in 1999, but that walkout lasted 17 weeks - a major disruption for a mission-critical facility.

“This offer maintains our competitiveness in the shipbuilding industry and our flexibility to respond to our Navy customer’s needs. I applaud the efforts of all those involved in reaching this agreement and am pleased we continued our Navy shipbuilding requirements throughout the process," said Susan Jacobs, Newport News’ vice president of human resources and administration.