Machinists at Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Fort Worth, Texas, operations, where the world's largest
defense contractor makes its popular F-16 fighter aircraft, went
on strike Monday after voting to reject a contract offer from
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers District 776 unit, which represents the 2,800 striking
workers at the Lockheed facility, said the strike involves 2,300
current employees and 500 who lost their jobs under recent
On Monday morning, workers were picketing outside the Fort
Worth facilities and all workers were striking, according to
Steve Sleigh, IAM director of strategic resources, who was
involved in the talks.
The workers rejected the contract offer even though it was
recommended by union negotiators on Friday. "We felt pretty
good about bringing it to the members," Sleigh said.
But the membership wanted more, with the biggest remaining
issues being a cost-of-living adjustment formula and a lack of a
severance provision, he said.
As of Monday morning there were no meetings scheduled
between management and the union, Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout
said. "We were very disappointed that the members did not
accept the contract," he added.
Lockheed shares lost 9/16, to 20-1/2, in morning trading on
the New York Stock Exchange.
The striking machinists work mostly on the F-16 operations,
doing assembly and maintenance on the single-engine combat jet,
versions of which are owned by the U.S. and numerous foreign
The company, which has its main headquarters in Bethesda,
Maryland, offered wage increases for the three-year contract of
four percent in the first year and three percent for each of the
remaining years, Sleigh said. It also offered a 25 percent
increase in the pension benefit.
With overtime, the average machinist at Fort Worth earned
about $41,000 last year, Sleigh said.
The Lockheed spokesman said it was too early to say what
kind of impact the strike could have on operations. The company
is on a fairly low level of F-16 production compared to last
year, at about four aircraft a month, he said.
The Fort Worth operations are part of Lockheed's
Aeronautical Systems segment, which represents about 22 percent
of Lockheed's net sales. Headquarters are in Fort Worth, and
there are also significant operations in Marietta, Ga., and
In addition to the F-16, the segment makes the F-22 fighter,
the C-130J transport plane and the X-33 reusable launch vehicle,
and is developing the joint strike fighter, a huge and
yet-to-be-awarded U.S. government contract.
At the end of last year Lockheed had 147,000 employees, a
fifth of whom were covered by collective bargaining agreements.
There are about 10,500 workers at Fort Worth.