FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM)– A nine-week strike at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth may soon be over.
Leaders with the Machinists Union say they have reached a tentative agreement. According to the union, the agreement is a four-year deal that will include an 11-percent pay raise and a better health care plan. There are also stipulations for a better pension plan for current and future employees.
Close to 3,600 workers went on strike on April 22, after the machinists’ union overwhelmingly rejected the company’s contract offer. The walkout has since become the longest strike in the Fort Worth plant’s history.
Members of the union, district lodge 776 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, 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 Fort Worth Lockheed location and two other sites.
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.
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