Lockheed Martin is the biggest supplier of the Pentagon and was compelled to minimize its labor as well as pension expenses. The company has also hired temporary workers to sustain production in the factory that manufactures the F-16 and the F-35.
The move was initiated by the FMCS after it was in contact with the two parties. The length of the mediation process is uncertain according to John Arnold, a spokesman, since the cases were different from each other and have their own distinct issues to be dealt with.
The move was welcomed by the union as it looked forward to meet with the officials of the company.
The company also indicated that it accepted the offer for mediation and welcomed the possibility of finding a solution to the strike.
According to Paul Black, the machinists’ union president, some issues have to be resolved in connection to health care benefits and pensions by both management and the union although some other minor issues have to be resolved as well.
To sustain production at the factory at Fort Worth, around 380 temporary workers were hired by Lockheed while another 50 were loaned from other facilities of the company. Over 1,100 workers also maintain the production of the F-35 fighter planes even as over 550 union members returned to work recently
Sources have indicated that the company is currently negotiating the finalization of a contract for 32 F-35 planes with the Pentagon even as defense officials have demanded considerable cutbacks in the pension and labor expenses of the company. Three unfair labor practice suits that the union filed against Lockheed were recently dismissed by the National Labor Relations Board.
According to Joe Stout, a spokesman for the company, the company values the union employees and aim to bring them back to work on the best fighter planes at the soonest possible time.