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 comprehensive
Thompson said it was the company's "last, best and final offer."
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.
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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)
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