June 26, 2012
Credit: Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Shannon Collins
Striking workers from the Fort Worth, Texas, plant where Lockheed Martin builds F-16 and F-35 fighter planes will vote on Thursday, June 28, on whether to accept a tentative deal reached by a key union and management late Saturday, the union said.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, whose 3,600-plus members have been on strike for nine weeks, have scheduled a vote for 11 a.m. CDT (1600 GMT) on Thursday at the historic North Side Coliseum in Fort Worth, a top union official said.
The union, known as the IAM, represents Lockheed employees at the Texas plant; Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.; and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
Lockheed, the Pentagon’s No. 1 supplier by sales, announced early Sunday that it had reached a tentative deal on a revised labor contract with the union’s bargaining committee during meetings Wednesday through Saturday facilitated by the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Neither the company nor the union have disclosed the terms of the tentative deal.
The union said on its website that it would release full details and a text of the new agreement to members before Thursday’s vote.
If ratified, the agreement would end a strike that began on April 23, after IAM members rejected Lockheed’s previous offer on April 22, largely over pension and health care benefits.
The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America, with nearly 700,000 active and retired members in the railroad, airline, aerospace, woodworking, shipbuilding and manufacturing sectors.
This has been the longest strike at the Fort Worth plant in recent decades, but a 1946 work stoppage last lasted over 12 weeks.