Strike Threat Shelved in Lockheed Dispute
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) _ The 6,000-member machinists union at Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. rejected a contract offer but withdrew its strike notice against the aeronautics company.
A union spokeswoman said the five-day strike notice was withdrawn Monday after management requested to meet with union leaders. However, a union source said the workers did not provide the needed two-thirds majority on the vote to authorize a strike.
The two sides were to meet today, said Bea Woodard, spokeswoman for Lodge 508 of the International Association of Machinists.
About 21,000 union workers at Lockheed Corp. plants in Southern California and Georgia voted to accept a three-year contract. Union officials in those locations had urged workers to approve the tentative agreement, leaving Sunnyvale officials alone in opposing the pact.
The votes on both the contract and strike authorization were taken Sunday. Ms. Woodard did not disclose the vote count from either except to say that members were overwhelmingly against the contract offer.
Although Ms. Woodard said withdrawing the strike notice was prompted by company officials’ request for a new meeting, failure of the strike authorization apparently would have left the union with no other option than to return to the bargaining table.
The union’s international already had sanctioned a strike.
Lockheed spokesmen George Mulhern and Bob Burgess, as well as a union source in Los Angeles, said they understood that the Sunnyvale local had failed to win approval of the strike vote.
Machinists union employees at Lockheed, including welders, assemblers, machine and equipment operators, carpenters and clerical workers, have been without a contract since Oct. 1.
The last machinists union strike at Lockheed Missiles & Space was in 1977, and lasted seven weeks.
The rejected contract provided for cash bonuses totaling 12 percent of pay in 1987, 5 percent in 1988 and 5 percent in 1989. The proposal also called for a cost-of-living payment of 40 cents an hour.
Hourly wages for union workers at Lockheed range from $6.94 to $16.65.
A major stumbling block, said union officials, was the company’s proposal to restrict coverage for new employees under Lockheed’s standard health insurance plan.