FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – After a nine-week strike, Lockheed Martin and the machinists’ union announced that they have reached a tentative agreement. The details of the offer have yet to be seen, as both sides agreed not to disclose the revised offer until the entire membership of the union could be briefed.
Close to 3,600 workers went on strike on April 22, after the machinists’ union overwhelmingly rejected the company’s contract offer. Nine weeks later, it is the longest strike in the Fort Worth plant’s history.
The machinists’ union went on strike over the proposed health care benefits and Lockheed Martin’s plan to eliminate pensions for newly hired workers. Bill Roesicke is one of the workers who has been picketing for weeks. He has been with the company for 36 years in January. “For the kids,” he said. “We are trying to get them a better retirement and pension plan.”
During the strike, Lockheed Martin continued production of the F-35 fighter planes, but admitted to a much slower pace with salaried workers and more than 400 temporary workers filling in for the machinists’ union. “We would like to get back to business and start building airplanes,” Roesicke said.
To date, a total 570 union members have crossed the picket line at the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth and two other sites. In Fort Worth, 320 have gone back to work.
Union leaders and Lockheed Martin expect a vote to take place on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at the Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
“I’m hoping that we get a fair and equitable contract,” said Pauline Ramos. She has been with Lockheed Martin for 31 years, and wants to see better pay, better benefits and a better pension plan. “I feel a little better that we went back to the table and reached some kind of tentative agreement. It gives us a glimmer of hope that there is something good there.”
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