Union members approve Newport News Shipbuilding contract

FILE PHOTO: NORFOLK (Nov. 17, 2013) The aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is moved to Pier 3 at Newport News Shipbuilding. The ship will undergo additional outfitting and testing for the next 28 months. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries by Chris Oxley/Released)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP/WAVY)) — Steelworkers’ union members in Virginia have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement.

United Steelworkers Local 8888 announced in a statement late Thursday that members approved the new agreement with Huntington Ingalls Industries, the parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding, by a margin of nine to one. The union represents nearly 10,000 workers at the Newport News shipyard.

The new agreement takes effect immediately and will last more than four years. It will increase wages, improve pensions and contain health care costs.

All employees are getting 1.5 percent increases in the new deal — followed by a 2.6 percent increase in 2018, and a 3 percent increase in 2019 and 2020. Huntington Ingalls says this averages out to 2.33 percent increase per employee every year.

Pensions are being bumped up to $1,800 from $1,550 starting Oct. 1. This applies to people who have been continuously employed on or before June 6, 2004, according to Huntington Ingalls.

Newport News Shipbuilding, which builds aircraft carriers and submarines, employs about 20,000 people and is Virginia’s largest industrial employer.

This offer is fair, competitive in the industry and respectful of the needs of our great shipbuilders,” said Susan Jacobs, Newport News’ vice president of human resources and administration.