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FORTWORTH Lockheed Martin workers in North Texas say they're relieved to hear the government shutdown is not about to start claiming their paychecks.

Lockheed had announced 3,000 furloughs nationwide. Workers who build the Joint Strike Fighter in Fort Worth feared they would be affected because government inspectors in the plant were forced off the job by the shutdown and the inspections are necessary to keep the assembly line moving.

Over the weekend, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel declared the inspectors essential personnel and they returned to work Monday. The lodge meeting of Local 776 of International Association of Machinists turned out to be a lot more upbeat than expected.

'If it drags on, who knows?' said Paul Black, the district president for International Association of Machinists. 'But, for now, we dodged a bullet.'

He's encouraging members to write their congressional representatives.

'Stop playing politics with people's livelihoods,' Black said.

Union member Mark Stewart said his message was even plainer.

'Get the job done,' he said. 'Please, get the job done.'

Email jdouglas@wfaa.com

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