Sept 26 Union workers at Huntington Ingalls
Industries Inc shipyard outside New Orleans on Thursday
voted to approve a new collective bargaining agreement that runs
through Jan. 6, 2019, the company said in a statement.
The contract, approved by members of the New Orleans Metal
Trades Council and the Metal Trades Department, will help
position the company's Avondale, Louisiana, facility to compete
for commercial work and avert closure, the company said.
The contract, which takes effect on Jan. 6, contains "a wage
and benefits package designed to be competitive in the
commercial industry in which Avondale is pursuing future work,"
the company said.
In 2010, Huntington Ingalls announced plans to close the
shipyard in 2014 unless it found other work to maintain
production at the site where workers are now winding down their
work on an amphibious warship for the U.S. Navy.
Huntington Ingalls has been exploring possible work in the
energy infrastructure business to keep the 75-year-old Avondale
site open. It says the company's work building warships and its
experienced workforce put it in a good position to build a wide
range of commercial industrial projects.
The site's location in the Gulf of Mexico with deepwater
river access to ports worldwide as well as 33 states through the
Mississippi River system should also be an advantage, according
to company officials.
Chris Kastner, corporate vice president and general manager,
corporate development, welcomed the five-year labor agreement
and said it reflected joint efforts to keep the facility open.
"This collaboration between management and labor is another
example of how we continue to work together to provide the best
opportunities for our employees and at the same time better
position Avondale to compete for future contracts in the
commercial market," Kastner said.
Ron Ault, president of the Metal Trade Department, one of
the unions that voted for the contract, welcomed approval of the
new collective bargaining agreement. "We worked together on this
agreement and will support Avondale in its efforts to acquire
work in the commercial energy market," he said.