Striking Lockheed Martin workers are picketing outside of a North Texas plant where the aerospace company makes F-35 fighter jets.
The strike by Machinists Local 776 in Fort Worth began April 23 after union members voted overwhelmingly April 22 to reject the company’s latest contract offer. The union represents about a quarter of Lockheed Martin’s 14,000 workers at the plant.
Lockheed Martin spokesman Joe Stout says the plant remains open and no problems have been reported. He says some employees have been assigned alternate job duties to take over for the striking workers.
“We believe our offer included terms that constituted a fair and equitable contract for the IAM members, including wage increases of 3 percent annually in each of the three years, a $3,000 signing bonus, an annual cost of living supplement of $800, increased retirement income for current employees, and various other improvements,” said the company in a statement released April 22. ” We’re disappointed that the IAM members rejected the company’s last, best and final offer and voted to strike. Our operations will remain open and we will implement our contingency plan while focusing on meeting our commitments to our customers.”
Union leaders say the company’s proposed changes to the pension plan, health costs and new hires policy were unacceptable.
The union represents about 3,600 employees in three bargaining units – production and maintenance employees, nurses and firefighters. The union includes about 150 employees each at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and NAS Patuxent River, Md.