Machinists' Union Approves Strike

Union's members voted Sunday at the Cowtown Coliseum

By Elvira Sakmari and Ray Villeda
|  Sunday, Apr 22, 2012  |  Updated 4:50 PM CDT
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Machinists' Union Approves Strike

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A sign at the main entrance of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX.

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The Machinists' Union at Fort Worth's Lockheed Martin plan to walk off the job tonight at 12:01.

On Sunday afternoon, the Machinists' Union rejected a new 3-year labor contract proposed by Lockheed on Thursday. By 4:00 p.m., the Union voted to strike. A Union Member told NBC 5's Ray Villeda the last strike was in 2003, lasting two weeks.

Union leaders are upset the company's contract offer would not give new hires the traditional pension plan.

"I've made it clear all year long at every meeting that I will not recommend a contract if it does not include a defined benefit pension for new hires," Paul Black, president of Machinists District Lodge 776 told the Star-Telegram this week.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents more than 3,500 workers who produce the F-35 and F-16 jets for the defense contractor.

On Sunday afternoon, Joe Stout, Director of Communications for Lockheed Martin Fort Worth issued this statement.:

We believe our offer included terms that constituted a fair and equitable contract for the IAM members, including general wage increases of 3 percent annually in each of the three years, a $3,000 signing bonus, an annual cost of living supplement of $800, increased retirement income for current employees, and various other improvements. We’re disappointed that the IAM members rejected the company’s last, best and final offer and voted to strike.  We have contingency plans in place for a work stoppage and will implement them beginning at midnight when the current contract expires.”

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