August 31, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Newport News, VA – The International Association of Machinists has filed unfair labor-practice charges against Newport News Shipbuilding with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the company of avoiding talks on a first contract for its nuclear-safety workers.
The shipyard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, “has used a panoply of foot-dragging techniques designed to prevent the parties from concluding a collective bargaining agreement,” union lawyer William H. Haller wrote. The 184 radiological technicians and lab workers voted to join the Machinists in 2009, and the NLRB upheld those results in 2012. In January, the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the shipbuilder’s challenge to the validity of both the NLRB’s decision and the nuclear-safety workers’ rights to form a bargaining unit. Machinists spokesperson Robert Wood said the union gave the company a full proposal that included wages and benefits in late June, but there has been no discussion about it since then. The Newport News shipyard is the only facility that builds U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines. Read more