ANCHORAGE -

Contract negotiations between ENSTAR Natural Gas and its union employees remain in a stand off.

For the past 9 days, some ENSTAR workers have been on strike and set up picket lines around Anchorage.

On Thursday, a group of about 20 people lined up along the sidewalk in front of ENSTAR's operations center in midtown, waving signs in hopes of sending a message.

ENSTAR and the union tried to work out a contract at the beginning of the year, but they were unable to reach an agreement after a split union vote of the last contract offer.

Sign wavers say they're fighting to keep their currently funded retirement plan.

Picketers also voiced concerns that the company hired workers from the Lower 48 to temporarily take over while the strike continues, but ENSTAR did not respond to Channel 2's inquiry about the outside workers on Thursday.

Greg Walker, a business manager for the Plumbers & Steamfitter's Local 367 union says the workers' morale is strong and they won't be stopping until a fair deal is reached.

"Currently the retirement plan is funded one hundred percent," Walker said. "They've had a great return on the market, there's no reason to take away that benefit right now from those members."

ENSTAR declined to comment on the negotiation process on Thursday.