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Lockheed Martin, Union Reach Deal

May 20, 1998

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Lockheed Martin Corp. reached a tentative agreement Wednesday on a four-year contract with union workers who build the space shuttle’s external fuel tanks.

About 1,100 members of the United Auto Workers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility will vote on the proposal Thursday afternoon, said company spokesman Marion LaNasa.

The UAW contract expired May 10, but work continued at the plant as the two sides continued negotiations.

``Although we can’t discuss specifics, the agreement will provide increased wages and benefits for employees,″ LaNasa said.

Benny McCormick, chairman of the UAW’s local negotiating committee, said the union was recommending that its members approve the contract. He also said he could not divulge specific details before the vote.

Lockheed Martin had been making preparations to keep the production of shuttle tanks going in case of a strike, which could have occurred at midnight Wednesday, LaNasa said. Those steps included using non-union employees to replace UAW workers on the plant’s production floor.

About 2,700 employees work at the plant.

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