Norway makes F-35 order from Lockheed as labor dispute goes on

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by MARCUS MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarcusMoorewfaa

WFAA

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 16 at 9:39 AM

FORT WORTH - Norway’s defense ministry announced Friday that it is buying two F-35’s and has plans to purchase another 48 planes.

The order comes at a time,when more than 3,000 machinists who helped to build the first F-35's are on strike.

Norway hopes to take delivery of its first two planes by 2016.

"They won't go to the production line for some time yet, so the strike should not have an issue," said Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout.

But when looking at future orders, Paul Black, the machinist’s union president, said there could be an impact.

"I'm happy that the company is able to sell more F-35's," Black said. "Now, they just need to get the work force that needs to be in there building them back to work."

So far, an impasse has been the obstacle.

In April, union workers rejected a company offer that included changes to healthcare plans and pension for new hires. The strike has been on ever since.

"We're confident that this work stoppage will be resolved in time to meet these customer commitments," Stout said.

Nearly two months into the strike, neither side has returned to the table.

"They need to agree to negotiate a fair and equitable contract," Black said. "I'm sure our members would be more than happy to get back in there and go to work."

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com

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