News Release

Strike Against Lockheed Martin Underscores Big Labor’s Historical Exploitation of National Crises

Washington, D.C. (April 15, 2003) – The National Right to Work Foundation today blasted officials of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union for continuing to exploit America’s national security concerns for private gain by shutting down warplane production for the U.S. military.

Directly from the union playbook used during other periods of national crisis, the strike at Lockheed Martin’s key Fort Worth, Texas, facility threatens to halt production of the F/A-22 jet fighter, which will replace the F-16 jet fighter. By ordering a strike, IAM union officials are attempting to force workers to put their allegiance to the union ahead of their employer and their country. In the past, workers who have decided to continue working have been the victims of hefty fines, harassment, and union violence.

The Foundation announced it will provide free legal aid to workers seeking to honor their commitments to their families by continuing to work during the strike free from union retaliation.

“Big Labor’s actions are callous and opportunistic. True to form they are exploiting a national crisis to force acceptance of their excessive demands,” stated Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “This is a perfect example of why workers should be freed from government-backed forced unionism, which gives union bosses a virtual stranglehold over workers’ jobs and America’s economy.”

In March 2002, IAM union operatives also attempted to use strikes to halt production of the F-22 jet fighter and C130-J military transport planes, which were being used at the time by American forces in Afghanistan as part of the war on terrorism.

Union officials have a long history of using national crises to expand their power and influence. During the Second World War, Big Labor used strikes and work stoppages to impose forced unionism on hundred of thousands of workers. In the most notorious of these strikes, union officials were able to shut down vital iron mines and ultimately persuaded the federal government to mandate that all mining employees pay union dues as a condition of employment.

By the end of World War Two, over 78 percent of unionized employees were governed by contracts that required them to pay union dues as a condition of employment, an increase by a factor of four.

In addition to the threat of strikes, union operatives have used the terrorist attacks on September 11 to try and advance forced unionism on Capitol Hill. In the days following the attack, union lobbyists attempted to push a bill that would impose forced unionism on police and fire-fighters, but so far have been defeated in their efforts. Union officials have described the bill, which was passed out of Ted Kennedy’s Senate Labor Committee last year without even a hearing, as “the largest expansion of labor (union) rights considered by Congress in decades.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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