Epic Battle Between the 1% and the 99% Happening at Lockheed Martin
This takes guts:
3,600 Lockheed Martin Workers Go on Strike in Texas
Strikes involving thousands of workers in the “right-to-work” state of Texas are extraordinarily rare. Yet on Monday, 3,600 Lockheed Martin workers, members of IAM Local 776 who make F-35 and F-16 fighter jets in Fort Worth, Texas, went out on strike to protest proposed healthcare and pension cuts.
Workers are upset about a proposed contract that would make workers’ pay much higher insurance deductibles. Lockheed Martin has already implemented this plan for its nonunion employees.
Workers are also upset about a plan that would eliminate defined-benefit pensions for new hires. In recent years, many other unions have agreed to this concession while retaining defined-benefit plans for current union members—a group of 15,000 GE workers agreed to a similar change for future hires last summer. Lockheed workers in Texas, however are fed up.
“The first time…, they take away pension for new hires. Next time around, when new hires [are in the union], they say ‘we are going to freeze the pension.’ Of course, the new hires that don’t have a pension aren’t going to strike, so then the pension is frozen,” says IAM spokesman Bob Woods. “Companies like Lockheed Martin simply want to eliminate defined benefit pensions plans.”
The union feels confident, though, that Lockheed Martin—the largest federal defense contractor, with $17.34 billion in federal projects last year—would be unable to operate the Texas plant without the skill of its unionized workforce.
“Every three years they want to come and take some other benefit. Everyone is sick and tired of it. These folks are prepared to be on strike for a long time” says Wood.
And there’s this just out this morning:
Lockheed Martin Profit Rises 20% as Stevens to Retire
Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the world’s largest defense company, reported first-quarter profit rose 20 percent as Robert Stevens, the chairman and chief executive officer, announced plans to retire.
Again, these workers must
have balls of steel be really, really pissed to strike in this environment when it’s fashionable to hate unions and when replacement workers are a dime a dozen. I admire their courage.
It will be very interesting indeed to see what happens here. Not only does this involve a relatively large under of people (harder to ignore) but it is a strike against a company that sucks in Our Tax Dollars as if it’s breastfeeding. What should we require — if anything — of companies that rely so heavily on Our Tax Dollars? Seems to me that in this instance, given it’s 20% profit increase, it’s trying to shift more and more money upward by slowly but surely screwing the workers and heck, I’d rather have the workers get good pay and good pensions than give even more (of my tax) money to the honchos.
Oh, and speaking of honchos, in 2010 the CEO of Lockheed Martin (Robert Stevens, the guy who’s retiring), raked in a total compensation package of $19,118,612. $19+ million.
This is a battle between the 1% and the 99%.
I’ll keep you posted.