Unions throw wedding for L-693 member

It’s a picket line wedding for Local 693’s Kenneth Hill as he places a wedding ring on the finger of Sonya McGruffin while fellow strikers and supporters look on. Christy Pritchett/AP.

Wedding moves to picket line when Ingalls’ workers go on strike

LOCAL 693 MEMBER Kenneth Hill (Pascagoula, Miss.) voted “Yes” to strike, then said “I do“ on the picket line.

He and Sonya McGruffin were married March 23 on the picket line outside the main gate of Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard, where Hill works as a welder.

On strike since March 8, the couple wanted to marry but didn’t have the money. Word spread and soon donations came pouring in. The bride’s dress was donated by members of one of the unions on strike at the shipyard. The groom’s tuxedo was donated by The Formal Affair in Gautier. Another union member baked the wedding cake and served champagne after the ceremony. Even more strikers donated food and money to pay for the ceremony.

Hill said the wedding on the picket line symbolized the solidarity of the unions. He also said he wanted to show the company how serious he was about the strike by sharing one of the most important moments in his life — his wedding — with his union family. He told the Mississippi Press, “We did it because the union is our family. We are all one.”

The strike lasted four weeks and Hill is now back at work, making plans to take his bride on a belated honeymoon to Daytona Beach, Florida.