Virginia Shipyard and union reach tentative agreement


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Newport News Shipbuilding — Virginia’s largest industrial employer and a key player in the Navy’s modernization efforts — has entered into a five-year interim contract with its largest union.

The deal with United Steelworkers Local 8888 comes after its members rejected an earlier pact late last year, the Newport News Daily Press reported.

Both agreements provided for annual salary increases. Union spokesman Dwight Kirk said the latest agreement represents an improvement on the rejected agreement, but declined to provide details on wage stipulations. Kirk said the union plans to notify the 12,000 workers in its collective bargaining union before they are asked to vote on it. Kirk also said the deal includes pension improvements, a cap on healthcare costs paid by union members and the first benefits for national partners.

Newport News Shipbuilding spokesman Danny Hernandez confirmed the tentative agreement was reached on Friday. Details will be released in the coming week, he said.

About 25,000 people work at Newport News Shipbuilding, which builds and supplies all of the Navy’s aircraft carriers and builds nuclear-powered submarines. There has not been a strike at the shipyard since 1999, according to the newspaper.

The shipyard is essential to the Navy’s main modernization program – the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, according to the newspaper. With a $2.2 billion contract, Newport News shipbuilders are working to build parts of the new boats.


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