FORT WORTH — They've made it nine weeks on the picket lines, and it sounds like 3,600 Lockheed Martin workers may be willing to walk a few more if they don't like the company's latest offer.
"I have a feeling it's not going to be very good," said a worried Floyd Tucker as he walked the picket line Monday morning.
The International Association of Machinists set Thursday for union members to hear the details of a tentative agreement and vote on possible changes to their pension and insurance plans. On April 22, the union rejected Lockheed Martin's previous offer, saying it failed to offer pension benefits for new hires.
Thursday's vote is under close watch in Washington, where the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter faces a tough budget battle.
U.S. Rep. Kay Granger told reporters Monday she has been in constant contact with Lockheed's CEO Robert Stevens. She said support is not wavering for the F-35, but noted there have always been opponents to the program, which is already behind schedule and over budget.
"Bob Stevens was in my office on Friday, and I expressed that same opinion - that 'let's go back to the bargaining table and get something done,'" Granger said. "It looks like they can. That's wonderful for everyone- for all those families."
Granger said she has been assured the F-35 is considered a key to American air superiority, but said it could face resistance if the walkout lingers.
Lockheed Martin said it would not comment on details of the tentative agreement, instead leaving it to the union to lead discussions with its members. Union leadership told News 8 that some members have dug in and are in no rush to accept an offer to end the strike, which is now in its third month.