Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mediation may keep Joint Strike Fighter production going

Lockheed Martin, biggest supplier the Pentagon, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) agreed to meet federal mediators to settle a strike that began over eight weeks ago over pension and health benefits. Apparently, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), an independent federal agency, initiated the move after getting in touch with both sides. Lockheed, under pressure from the Pentagon to reduce its labor and pension costs, hired scabs to maintain production at the plant where it builds F-35 fighter jets. The parties are reportedly hopeful the FMCS can provide the independent perspective that often produces the framework for a resolution and are said to welcome the opportunity to find a resolution to the strike. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last week dismissed three unfair labor practice charges filed by the union against Lockheed. The company appreciated the decision, saying its negotiators had bargained in good faith with the union. See story here -