WASHINGTON May 16 Lockheed Martin Corp
on Friday said it was disappointed that just over 100
union-represented workers at a Mississippi space center had
decided to go on strike after rejecting the company's contract
offer. The company said it hoped to resolve the issue soon.
Members of the International Association of Machinists and
Aerospace Workers (IAM) began picketing outside NASA's Stennis
Space Center on Friday after rejecting Lockheed's offer, which
seeks to replace worker pensions with 401K retirement accounts.
The center is home to NASA's Rocket Propulsion Test Program,
which manages the agency's propulsion test facilities.
"We are disappointed that the IAM members did not ratify the
contract and voted to strike," said Lockheed spokeswoman Tabatha
Thompson, adding that the company believed the offer was "fair
and equitable" and offered workers "competitive pay and
Thompson said it was the company's "last, best and final
J.C. Felder, president of the Stennis IAM chapter, told the
local Fox News station the union was trying to preserve the
pensions that workers have now.
"We are not asking for a lot, nothing additional, really we
just want to keep what we have," Felder told the TV station.
Over the past years, Lockheed has consistently sought to
move away from defined benefit pensions in its contracts with
union workers to defined contribution plans.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Matt Driskill)