Inside the Lockheed Martin plant on day 46 of machinist strike

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by MARCUS MOORE

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WFAA

Posted on June 7, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 8 at 1:22 PM

FORT WORTH - It's day 46 in the Lockheed Martin strike, and that's proved too much for some union members who have crossed the picket line.

Lockheed Martin officials says about 200 workers have returned to their jobs in Fort Worth. The machinist union reports less than five percent have gone back to work, and they maintain support for the strike remains strong.

WFAA was allowed inside the Lockheed Martin plant to see what work is being done. It was WFAA's first look inside Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth Assembly plant since the strike began.

With clearance from the Pentagon and under tight security, WFAA saw workers continuing the process of building planes, including the F35. Company officials say about 10 are in the final assembly stage, one rolled off the line Thursday afternoon.

This year they had planned to build 30 planes.

Since the strike began in April, parts of the plant are quiet, but they've added nearly 200 temporary workers and say production is steady. But, with only a third of the workers, production isn't what it was before the strike.

"We would really like to have the union workers here," said Joe Stout, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin. "In the mean time, we have to take the necessary steps to meet our business objectives."

Members of the International Association of Machinists say no one is more qualified to build the planes than them. They walked off the job in April over proposed changes to healthcare deductibles and pension benefits.

"Every contract has been about taking away something," said Bob Wood, a spokesman for the union. "Our membership have decided that now is the time to stop giving back when this company makes more and more money."

A Lockheed Martin representative said the company made a fair offer and that the end of the strike lies with people on the picket line.

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