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Northrop Workers To Vote On Union Contract

Unions at Northrop Grumman shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., have endorsed a new contract proposal from the defense contractor, with members to vote on Dec. 1.

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) -- Unions at the Northrop Grumman shipyard in Pascagoula have endorsed a new contract proposal from the defense contractor.

Union members will vote on the proposal Dec. 1 at the B.E. "Mac" McGinty Civic Center on the Jackson County Fairgrounds from 4 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Mississippi Press in Pascagoula reports that the Pascagoula Metal Trades Council and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represent about two-thirds of the 12,000 workers in Pascagoula, have endorsed the proposed two-year extension.

The existing contracts were approved in April 2007, after a nearly monthlong strike at the shipyard.

The extension proposal offers journeyman-level employees a 55-cent-per-hour pay increase effective Jan. 4, 2010, two months before the collective bargaining agreements are due to expire in March. Employees would get a second 55-cent hourly increase on March 8, 2011, the company said.

Classifications below journeyman would receive proportionate increases.

Northrop said monthly health care premiums would remain unchanged for the length of the contract extension, as would all other terms of the current labor agreement, the company said.

Qualified employees who are on the active payroll through Dec. 17 would also receive a $1,000 ratification bonus, according to the proposal.

The December bonus, which will be made in a separate check, is in lieu of a 2010 cost of living adjustment, according to a letter sent to more than 2,000 members of Northrop's management from Edmond Hughes, vice president of human resources.

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