Some 3,600 striking union workers may soon return to their jobs building fighter jets for Lockheed Martin in California, Maryland, and Texas. Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have been on strike for nine weeks, having rejected a company contract offer on April 22. However, last week, representatives from the two sides met with federal mediators and subsequently reached a tentative agreement, announced the company June 23. Lockheed Martin spokesman Joe Stout told the Daily Report on June 25 that union workers will vote on June 28 whether to adopt the new agreement. “We look forward to having them back on the job, building the world’s best fighters,” said Greg Karol, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of labor relations. The union’s bargaining committee will unanimously recommend that the workers accept the agreement, according to the company. The parties have not disclosed terms of the deal.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.