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LOCKHEED CONTRACT REACHED UNION VOTE SET FOR SUNDAY.

Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer

PALMDALE - Lockheed Martin and a union representing about 1,000 members of the aerospace giant's Palmdale work force reached a tentative agreement Friday on a new three-year contract.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers will meet Sunday, one day before a strike was to begin, to vote on the tentative pact. Union leaders are recommending approval of the agreement.

``We think it's a good, positive deal,'' said company spokeswoman Dianne Knippel. ``We feel positive about it.''

Union officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The union's Web site stated that leadership was advising approval of the proposal and that the vote was slated for Sunday morning at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.

The tentative agreement includes no increase in out-of-pocket medical costs to employees and pay raises of 4 percent in the first year and 3 percent in both the second and third years of the contract.

The tentative agreement also includes a $1,000 signing bonus for each employee and annual cost-of-living payments of $600 per year for each employee.

The previous offer from the company included pay raises of 3 percent in each of the three years and increases in medical costs that union officials said would have wiped out the pay hikes. That offer included a $500 signing bonus per employee.

Lockheed Martin workers had voted overwhelming last weekend to reject that proposal and had scheduled a strike to begin Monday.

Contract negotiations between the union and Lockheed Martin were also going on with locals covering employees in Sunnyvale in Northern California and Marietta, Ga.

Union officials were advising membership in Sunnyvale to approve a contract proposal similar to the Palmdale agreement, but Marietta union officials were advising against ratifying the pact.

The Palmdale tentative agreement was reported early Thursday morning after both sides had spent a second day with a federal mediator in Glendale. Federal officials had ordered the mediation sessions fearing ``substantial interruption of commerce'' had the union struck.

During the negotiations for the last contract, a strike was narrowly averted when an agreement was reached three hours before a strike deadline.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 9, 2002
Words:354
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