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Tue, Mar 04, 2008

Lockheed Martin Machinists Approve New Contract

Three-Year Agreement Included Bonuses, Cuts For New Hires

Not everyone was thrilled with the deal... but in the end, workers at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, GA voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new three-year contract.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports about 88 percent of workers represented by International Association of Machinists Local 709 approved the contract, which included a 10-percent wage increases, and signing bonuses.

"We did have a large turn-out of our membership -- probably one of the largest turn-outs we've had in recent years," said Local 709 President Jeff T. Goen, adding the contract "may be the best package we've ever gotten."

As ANN reported last week, workers at five Lockheed plants nationwide were scheduled to vote Sunday on the tentative agreement reached last week. A full 98 percent of union membership at Local 709 had taken a preliminary vote to strike, ahead of the final offer.

Goen said health care was a significant bone of contention during negotiations. "The union stood firm on that issue," he said. "We would not ratify or recommend to our membership that the contract be ratified." Under the new contract, employee costs will remain at the current rate of 13 percent.

Workers say that to accommodate raises and benefits for current workers, however, new hires will take it on the chin. Mike Sudan, who has worked at the Marietta facility for 32 years, remained disillusioned that new hires wouldn't receive benefits upon retirement. And Steve Foster, with four years on the job, opposed the current two-tier pay structure that fixes wages for newer employees at lower rates than veteran machinists.

"I'm OK with the raises and bonus," he said, "but that's unfair."

FMI: www.lockheedmartin.com, www.goiam.org

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