F-35 Instructor Pilots on Strike for Respect, Fairness at San Diego’s Miramar Air Station

SAN DIEGO, June 3, 2022 – Military Pilot Instructors at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, like the ones in the new Top Gun film, have voted to go on strike, beginning Friday, June 3.

The employer, Lockheed Martin, has refused to fairly compensate the eight highly accomplished pilots, members of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 1125 (District 725), for their advanced qualifications that include the requirement to perform and teach specialized tactics in the air combat environment, to F-35 military pilots aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

“Each instructor here has proudly served our nation’s military in the fighter squadrons across the world and continues to put in countless hours to perfect our craft and ability to instruct at very high levels,” said Military Pilot Trainer Ryan Cunningham, who goes by the call sign “Closet.” “We’re asking that Lockheed Martin treat us with the same respect we demonstrate to this company, our military, and specifically this profession, each and every day.”

When asked how he feels about his work, Closet stated, “The pride we take in our work is immense – We, along with our military instructor pilot brethren across the street, are the foundation of the development of young F-35 fighter pilots. The responsibility is difficult to grasp and never taken lightly. The young men and women that we send across the street after training with them for hundreds of hours at the PTC have the capacity to strap into our nation’s newest fighter and operate that F-35 safely, alone, with zero previous flight hours in a tactical aircraft.” 

“IAM members at Miramar Air Station are not only uniquely qualified professionals, but they are also members of our San Diego community,” said IAM District 725 President and Directing Business Representative David Brewer. “We appreciate all the support for our membership as we fight for fairness for San Diego’s very own Top Gun pilots Instructors.”

“The pilots at Miramar Air Station are the finest this country has to offer,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “Lockheed Martin owes it to them and our nation’s military to treat these Top Gun pilots fairly. The IAM will use every resource necessary to get a fair contract.”

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is one of the largest and most diverse industrial trade unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.

goIAM.org | @MachinistsUnion

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