FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Lockheed Martin will begin mediations with its workers union on Wednesday, after employees walked out on strike nine weeks ago. The strike has lasted much longer than Lockheed Martin or workers likely anticipated. Now, the defense contractor and union representatives will meet with a federal mediator in hopes of resolving their issues.

Both sides agreed to a face-to-face meeting — a sign that they are both possibly open to working out an agreement and settling the strike. The action comes as workers continue to picket outside of every gate at the Fort Worth plant, though their numbers are dwindling. Going without pay for about three months has caused several hundred employees to cross the picket line and head back to work.

About 3,400 workers remain on strike, however, and the union said that their cause is still strong. The machinist union is fighting to keep pensions for new hires and get better health insurance benefits.

Over the last few weeks, the aerospace engineering company started to hire temporary replacement workers to fill the void left by those employees who are still on the picket line.

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