NEWPORT NEWS -- Members of United Steelworkers Local 8888 overwhelmingly approved a new 52-month contract Huntington Ingalls Industries, the parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding.

Union officials said by a 9 to 1 margin, union members approved the collective bargaining agreement that will increase wages by an average of $16,400 over the term of the contract, while reducing employees' health care premiums by 15 percent. The new pact also improves workers' pensions and bolsters promotional opportunities.

The agreement covers nearly 11,000 union members and takes effect immediately.

'This offer contains solid improvements, is fair, competitive in the industry and worthy of our great shipbuilders. Establishing this contract will help Newport News Shipbuilding meet our ongoing commitments to shipbuilders and the U.S. Navy as we continue to build the world's best ships,' said NNS Vice President of Human Resources and Administration Bill Bell.

The contract runs through July 9, 2017.

Huntington Ingalls is the nation's largest military shipbuilder and Virginia's largest industrial employer. Its Newport News Shipbuilding unit is the nation's only builder of aircraft carriers and one of two submarine builders.

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