Todd Shipyards Workers OK Contract

Times Staff Writer

Union employees at Todd Shipyards Corp. in San Pedro on Monday overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract that calls for no wage increases, company and union officials announced.

Ratification of the contract marks the second consecutive time that employees have agreed to a wage freeze. The amount of work at the shipyard has declined in recent years, and hundreds of workers have lost their jobs.

"We're hoping this kind of contract will help us get more work," said George Samanc, president of Local 9 of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers.

"There is a lot of pressure by the Navy on the companies and workers to keep wages down," Samanc said. "I guess it's their way of cutting costs to build ships."

John O'Hara, Todd's vice president for industrial relations, said the new contract gives the company "some relief to remain competitive and go after some new contracts."

The workers, who earn $13.48 an hour, approved the new contract only hours after their previous contract expired at midnight Sunday. Just a handful of the 1,700 employees affected by the contract voted against it, union officials said.

In 1983, the workers also agreed to accept a wage freeze to help New York-based Todd compete to build the lead ship for the next generation of Navy warships, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. However, Todd last year failed to win the contract, which was awarded to Bath Iron Works.

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