Decision On Continuation Expected By March 1
With the federal government armed with roughly $800 billion
dollars to stimulate the economy, a predictable recommendation is
coming from defense industry circles.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports another 95,000 jobs
nationwide could be in jeopardy if the Obama administration decides
to discontinue production of the F-22 Raptor.
As ANN has reported, the F-22 Raptor program
is caught in a political squeeze among the US Air Force, which
started in 1994 with plans to buy 750 of the stealthy aircraft;
Pentagon brass, which says only 183 of the planes are justified;
and the Obama administration's pledges to cut defense spending.
The Air Force committed to buy only four planes in fiscal 2009,
while its contract requires the purchase of at least 20. A decision
is expected by March 1.
Jeff Goen is president of Local No. 709 of the International
Association of Machinists, made his case to the paper. Of Obama, he
notes "In his bid for the presidency he said he'd maintain jobs.
Well, here's 95,000 jobs as opposed to cutting 95,000 jobs. I don't
see how he cannot approve it."
When asked if the more secure F-35 program won't offer as many
jobs as the F-22 program could lose, Goen says the problem would be
a three year gap before F-35 production ramps up.
Besides, he adds... the union wants both.
"If the F-22 stays, and there’s money for 60 additional
aircraft, our manpower numbers in Marietta will be up by 1,000-plus
employees," Goen noted.
Of the IAM's relationship with Lockheed, Goen says it's better
than it's been in years. He says the only issues on the horizon for
the next contract are maintaining pension and healthcare