Lockheed Machinists on Strike for Health Care and Pensions

IAM members at three Lockheed Martin locations voted overwhelmingly to reject the company’s contract offer that reduced health care benefits and dropped defined benefit pensions for new hires. About 3,700 members are on strike in Ft. Worth, TX, Edwards AFB in California and PAX River NAS in Maryland. Above, IAM District 776 members at the contract and strike vote in Ft. Worth, TX.

On Sunday, April 22, 2012, 3,700 Machinists at District Lodge 776 voted by an overwhelming margin to strike Lockheed Martin, and walked off the job at 12:01 AM that night. The majority work at the Ft. Worth, TX facility, where they build the F-16 and F-35 fighter jets. About 150 members each perform flight tests at Edwards AFB in California and PAX River NAS in Maryland, who are also striking.

IAM members staff the picket line at Edwards AFB in California.

Members voted by a 94 percent margin to reject the company’s Last, Best and Final offer, and voted by a 93 percent margin to strike.

“Our issues are the same as across the nation,” said District 776 President and Directing Business Representative Paul Black. “The company is demanding that we switch to LM Healthworks, a high-deductible, high-cost plan, and Lockheed wants to eliminate the defined-benefit pension plan for new hires.”

The IAM filed several charges with the National Labor Relations Board against the company, including charges of direct dealing, bargaining in bad faith and unlawful spying and surveillance.

IAM members on the picket line at Patuxent River NAS in Maryland.

“This is ground zero in the health care and pension fight,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Bob Martinez. “This is a nationwide fight to take good health care and pension benefits from working families, and our members at District Lodge 776 are determined to prevail. The IAM will stand with them and support them in this fight.”

“There is a plan in corporate America to eliminate pensions across the nation,” said Aerospace General Vice President Mark Blondin. “The workers at Fort Worth, Edwards and PAX River have spoken loud and clear that they will fight to keep good benefits for all workers.”

For more information, go to www.goiamtexas.com.