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Union, management brace for possible strike at Newport News Shipbuilding

Steelworkers at Newport News Shipbuilding rejected a proposed negotiated contract offer in November. (Michael Fabey)

After rejecting the negotiated proposed contract offer from Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding, steelworkers from Local 8888 in the yard ramped up threats of a possible strike at a rally on 16 December outside the shipyard gates.

Local 8888 members voted down the tentative five-year agreement in mid-November by a 2–1 tally, forcing the current stand-off. Shipyard and union officials both noted that the current contract and naval work schedule will remain in effect while labour and management work towards negotiating another deal.

“Work at the shipyard is continuing under a contract extension, and the company and the union are continuing to honour all current contract terms and conditions as we work to reach an agreement with the contract,” HII spokesperson Danny Hernandez told Janes .

Any strike or walkout has the potential to severely affect the schedule and costs of some of the US Navy's most important shipbuilding programmes being performed at the yard, including Columbia-class and Virginia-class submarine work as well as major carrier construction or overhaul projects for Ford-class and Nimitz-class ships.

The programmes are already stressed from issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic and general national supply-chain delays.

The Local 8888 leadership emphasised its resolve in the December issue of the union newsletter, Voyager

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