NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Editor's note: The video above is on file from Jan. 17, 2022.
The United Steelworkers Union Local 8888 said it has reached a new tentative 60-month collective bargaining agreement with Newport News Shipbuilding.
The deal comes two months after union members rejected the last agreement by a two-to-one vote.
The terms of the deal were not released by the union, but spokesman Dwight Kirk referred to it as "a new and improved agreement."
Kirk said this agreement involves wage improvements over the last deal, some recognition of employees as essential workers for the labor they have performed during the pandemic, and historic domestic partner benefits.
Additionally, Kirk said the agreement includes improved pension benefits and holds the line on health benefits.
Kirk said, in the days ahead, the union will embark on a membership education campaign to ensure that the rank and file are informed about the agreement's content.
He said a ratification vote will eventually take place at a date yet to be determined.
Hourly employees have been working under an extension of the terms of the expired deal.
If the deal is ratified, it would mean that a work stoppage would be avoided.
The last time there was a strike at Newport News Shipbuilding was in 1999.
Newport News Shipbuilding is the world's only maker of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. And, it is one of two companies in the country which build nuclear-powered submarines.
The other company, General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut, works in a unique partnership with Newport News Shipbuilding to jointly build two Virginia Class submarines for the Navy every year.
With more than 25,000 employees, Newport News Shipbuilding is Virginia's largest industrial employer.
13News Now reached out to Newport News Shipbuilding for a comment about the tentative agreement, but so far, the company has not responded.