photo15 Lockheed Martin Machinists Approve New Labor Deal

Voting members of Machinists Local 776 await results outside the Cowtown Coliseum on June 28, 2012 in Fort Worth. They approved Lockheed Martin’s offer and will return to work July 2. (Credit: Chuck Schechner/KRLD)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Machinists Local 776 has approved a new labor deal with Lockheed Martin following a nine week strike, setting the stage for employees to return to work on July 2.

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve the four-year agreement.

In the vote at the Cowtown Coliseum, Union President Paul Black said about 80 percent of the nearly 2,300 union members voted to accept the new collective bargaining agreement. The revised contract is for four years instead of the standard three and offers an immediate 3 percent increase in base pay and a signing bonus of $2,000 instead of the original 3,000.

Members of Machinists Local 776 have been on strike since April 23, hoping to save pensions for newly hired workers and get better, more affordable health insurance options. Local 776 represents about 3,600 workers.

An additional health plan was offered for employees with lower deductibles, which was a major point of contention for many of the union members.

The plan to eliminate pension plans for newly hired employees did not change, however new hires will be offered a Lockheed-funded, union-sponsored 401k plan in addition to the company’s standard 401k option.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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