Striking Lockheed Martin workers picket in Texas – BusinessWeek

Unhappy with proposed changes to health care benefits and pension plans, dozens of Lockheed Martin workers started picketing Monday at a North Texas plant where F-35 stealth fighter jets are made, as well as outside flight test centers in two other states.

The strike by Fort Worth-based Machinists Local 776 began after the 3,600 union members voted overwhelmingly Sunday to reject the aerospace company’s latest contract offer. Union members oppose the company’s proposed changes to the health care and pension plans — including higher deductibles and co-payments — and eliminating pension for newly hired workers, said union spokesman Bob Wood.

via Striking Lockheed Martin workers picket in Texas – BusinessWeek.

They’re cutting off their nose to spite the face.

With support for the F-35 program bleeding profusely, any negative news about the program raises the risk of either cancellation, or truncation. And if there are fewer or no jets to be built, all those union workers are going to find themselves unemployed.

Spare me all the talk about how unions are vital for protecting workers. The days of the merciless exploitation of workers are over. Nowdays, unions simply raise the costs of doing business, above and beyond the already ridiculous regulatory burdens the government has imposed.

19 thoughts on “Striking Lockheed Martin workers picket in Texas – BusinessWeek”

  1. Or you could have a situation like we have in SC where The DoL is trying to prevent Boeing from building a plant in our (right to work) State. Because, you know, it’s just UNFAIR that Boeing has an option to open a plant where they can’t be required by law to only hire union workers.

    1. Texas is a “right to work” state. Lockheed Martin announced that they have plans in place to continue production in spite of the strike.

      Obviously the folks who are striking never pick up a newspaper or read anything about the defense industry…talk about having a tin ear. But on the other hand I have no way of knowing what Lockheed offered them, it could actually be bad, I don’t know.

  2. I worked nearly 40 years in the shipyards…worked a little less than 3 months at a union yard. It was the dumbest place in the world. Told the shop steward who was trying to set up my payroll deduction plan for my dues that if one dime came out of my check I was going to look him up and jam an 8 pd hammer where the sun don’t shine. I work in a open shop state and I don’t need a union to do right by me. Stinking bloodsucking thieves…

      1. Those same union negotiated benefits and wages that helped drive the vast majority of US (merchant) shipbuilding overseas? That have raised the cost of doing business to the for defense contractors and helped lead to the consolidation of many shipyards, leading to less competition and higher costs? Its bad enough that the government is a monopsony, but pairing it with an effective monopoly on military shipyards is a recipe for disaster. See LCS and LPD-17.

    1. George, I’d say it looks like he didn’t enjoy them too much, since he was only there for 3 months. Regardless, if you knew anything about Byron, you’d know he’s done quite well for himself in this field. Without a union.

  3. Not all workers wish to strike. Not all workers are on with the likes of spoiled and disagreeable Mr. Black and his cohorts. Some workers just want the union to be quiet so they can go back to work.

    If anyone is cheating workers out of money, it is the union by enforcing this pointless strike.

    Copays are up across the board; 401(k) type pensions are the way of the future. It’s not great, it just is.

    Has anyone who is gung-ho for this strike actually gone through a bad one?

    Don’t think all the workers under the union blanket want this current mess; some know better, but hands are tied.

    1. ummmm….. the vote to reject contract was 94%. to strike, the vote was 93%…. that is big percentage of workers that chose to strike. No one forced them. They do not have to be union in the state of Texas. They can quit the union any time, according to Lockheed’s website.

      The point I want to make is, the company has reported huge profits for the first quarter. And their stock hit a record high this week. The healthcare they are trying to force the workers into taking, doesn’t even comply with the new healthcare law. The point of the law is to make healthcare more affordable. Not more costly. If union workers bring corporations down, then why the record highs on the market and in their profits? Since the strike, they have gotten several NEW contracts. The DoD is not their only customer. There’s more to it than the media reports.

      Besides, if you think the benefits for all employees comes out of the corporations pocket, you are sadly mistaken. That money is included in the contract they get from the government. You know, it’s billed to them. That means, it’s the workers right to be able to keep those benefits. It’s not right for the company to take them away.

      1. Besides, if you think the benefits for all employees comes out of the corporations pocket, you are sadly mistaken. That money is included in the contract they get from the government. You know, it’s billed to them. That means, it’s the workers right to be able to keep those benefits. It’s not right for the company to take them away.

        Please expound on this. If you’re arguing that the contract with the government specifically includes funds earmarked for the provision of healthcare insurance for LockMart employees, I’ll be stunned. But who knows. Govt. contracting isn’t my specialty.

        If you’re arguing that eventually the money used to provide benefits to union workers comes out of the money that LockMart receives from contracts, well,of course! Where else would money come from? LockMart doesn’t get to print its own money.

        I’d like to hear more about this.

  4. Mr. Hedgepeth, the pay and benefits at the NON-union shipyard I had worked at until I had been temporarily laid off were better than the ones that the oh-so wonderful benefits the union workers received at the hands of their union reps, who always made sure to strike only when work was slow at the yard. So if you’re trying to intimidate me with the same bullshit the shop steward did, let me give you the response I gave him to you: “If I don’t like the pay, I’ll tell the boss I want more or I’ll walk; if I don’t like the benefits, I’ll walk; If my supervisor is dogging me, I’ll put a foot in his ass and walk. I do NOT need a blood sucking union to do my negotiations; Get it?”

    1. LeeAnn wrote “If union workers bring corporations down, then why the record highs on the market and in their profits? Since the strike, they have gotten several NEW contracts. The DoD is not their only customer. There’s more to it than the media reports. …The healthcare they are trying to force the workers into taking, doesn’t even comply with the new healthcare law. ”

      You’re confusing the larger Corporation with the Aeronautics plant in Fort Worth, which is the plant they struck. Yes, perhaps other parts of the Corp got contracts, I hope so. But DoD accounts for over 90% of LM’s business. The F-35 and F-16 lines are over 90% of Aeronautics’ business. And both salaried and union employees of Aeronautics own lots of LM stock through the 401(k) plan. All employees should want the stock to go up. Also, the DoD does not set aside money in a contract to pay benefits for anybody, union or salaried. The company has to pay its people, cover its overhead, produce the product and make profit out of the bottom line figure the government pays. It is a constant balancing act for ANY company to provide competitive pay and benefits to its employees and leave enough to make money for its stockholders (which includes its employees). The proposed health care plan is the same one the salaried employees are currently under, so I’m not sure what you mean by it not complying with law.

  5. Intimidate you? Absolutely not. I do not assume you could be intimidated by reading a message on a computer screen by someone you have never met. BUT- I have worked union jobs and non-union jobs. Unions suck- almost as bad as working for a jerk on a non-union job. I would have certainly been fired two years ago by a nut-job I had as a boss if it were not by my union. She is now gone, I am not. My union kept that injustice from happening.

    Years ago, I worked in a factory while going to college. The man who ran the place- non-union, was a huge creep who required all the young guys to unload trucks with their shirts off. This was in an area with very high un-employment. We had to swallow our pride and let this old letch drool all over us from a catwalk with binoculars or quit and HOPE we could find another job. I quit, and found work about two months later. It was a hungry summer.

    Not all employers are rational, not all situations are level ground.

  6. I get out of bed on this, the fourth morning of the strike. My husband still hasn’t gotten out of bed; he’s too depressed. Looks like I’m spending a fourth day alone. My husband never wanted this strike, but violence is implied to those who might cross the lines.

    I go into the kitchen to make breakfast, but there are only two slices of bacon, one egg, and no milk. I had this problem at dinner last night, too. Luckily, I have formula and diapers for the baby right now.

    I need to clean for the week, but the supplies are also on the week’s list for the store.

    We do not know when we will have money coming in again, and this is killing my husband, who just last week was a vibrant and happy man. I’ve never seen him like this. We have money saved, but also have house payments. I can’t work because we can’t afford childcare.

    The union is screwing over current workers to fight something that is far larger than Lockheed. They can picket the Pentagon if they want to, but let everyone go back to work.

    Union leaders get paid regardless of what happens, but their followers have forgotten that, to the detriment of all.

    1. I’d be a little more sympathetic if your email wasn’t fake and your IP address was actually in Texas instead of Kansas. There’s enough tales of people struggling without making one up.

    2. what a bunch of hogwash! There’s no violence. People need to just stop with the crap. It’s been almost a week, where’s the headlines on all the violence?? LOL that is just crazy!

  7. LM offered a signing bonus ($3000, I believe), 3% yearly rate increase for each of the 3 years of the contract, and additional COLA payments. The company essentially wants any newly hired union workforce to be placed under the same health care and retirement plans the newly hired salaried employees have been receiving for the last 3 years. The current salaried employees have been under the same health care plan for the last two years. The legacy pension plans will be retained for both union and salaried current employees.

    Compared to the salary increases the engineering staff has seen the last 3 years, that is a pretty reasonable offer, as far as I can tell.

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