The Associated Press

Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 8:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 8:57 p.m.

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Employees at Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula on Thursday approved a three-year contract extension that affects 6,000 employees at the state’s largest private employer.

The Sun Herald reports ( union officials said just over 1,100 members of the Pascagoula Metal Trades Council, voted on the proposal. It passed with 60 percent of the vote. More than 300 workers in the electrical union voted and it passed by 80 percent, the newspaper said.

Under the new pact, the employees will get a $1,000 bonus in lieu of a 2012 cost-of-living adjustment and three raises over the next three years. On the downside, health care premiums will increase in each year of the contract.

All other aspects of the contract – holidays, discipline policies, work hours and overtime policies, for example – will remain the same for the next three years.

The workers approved the deal because of the down economy, union officials said.

It applies to the Avondale and Gulfport yards as well Ingalls, but does not affect the Newport News yard in Virginia. All are under the parent company, Huntington Ingalls Industries.