560 F-22 jobs going to Texas
by Kim Isaza
December 05, 2012 01:00 AM | 15278 views | 10 10 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The final F-22 Raptor 4195 sits outside the hangar at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta and will be stationed at the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.  STAFF/LAURA MOON.
The final F-22 Raptor 4195 sits outside the hangar at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta and will be stationed at the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. STAFF/LAURA MOON.
MARIETTA — Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is moving the majority of F-22 jobs from Marietta to Fort Worth, Texas, and this week notified 560 employees that they have until Jan. 7 to decide whether to make the move.

The company estimates it will save $250 million over five years by consolidating the non-production work in Fort Worth as part of the company’s new Integrated Fighter Group, which also includes work on the F-16.

The jobs being transferred are all salaried, non-production jobs, most of them in engineering. None of them are union jobs, said Johnny Whitaker, communications director for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta.

“The goal is to have everybody moved by the end of March 2013,” Whitaker said.

About 600 employees in Marietta work on the F-22 stealth fighter.

The 40 remaining jobs are union and involve applying the stealth coatings on the vertical and horizontal stabilizers of the jets, as well as some canopy refurbishment. Those workers will remain in Marietta, Whitaker said.

The workers who transfer will get cost-of-living raises as well as relocation help, he said.

“Do we expect all 560 to take it? We’d like them to,” Whitaker said. “Our promise has been, if you’d like to keep your job, you can. But we don’t expect that all of them will. People have deep roots here. This program has been here 25 years now. We’re hopeful that as many as 30 percent will take us up on the offer. Those who don’t will keep their job here until we can either spread out their responsibilities among people in Fort Worth, or hire a new person in Fort Worth. At that time, if they haven’t found another open job here in Marietta, we’ll have to make some adjustments.

“There might have to be involuntary layoffs,” Whitaker said. “We don’t know how many people that might affect.”

Lockheed has promised that any employee who does make the move will not be laid off in Fort Worth for at least one year after relocating.

Jeff Babione, vice president of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group, delivered the news in person in Marietta on Monday.

“The economic realities of today’s defense business climate require us to drive down costs in order to deliver on our commitments to the war fighter and remain competitive for the future,” Babione said in a statement. “Operating from a centralized location will improve our overall affordability, streamline operations, foster an environment of greater collaboration and ultimately enhance the level of support we provide our customers.”

Whitaker said the moves are part of the company’s overall affordability initiatives and are unrelated to looming across-the-board cuts in the federal budget known as sequestration.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is one of four business areas of the overall company. Aeronautics is headquartered in Fort Worth, where 14,000 employees already work. Marietta currently has 6,900 total employees.

Fort Worth is the main production facility for the F-35, which is Lockheed Martin’s largest program. The F-16 is also built there.

Whitaker said the employees took the news calmly on Monday.

“A lot of people sensed something was coming, but they just hadn’t heard it officially,” he said. “It’s a tough business decision, and it affects individuals on a very personal basis”

Separately, about 3,000 Lockheed employees who are members of IAM Local 709 will vote today to elect new local officers.

The offices of president, vice president, secretary-treasurer and recording secretary, plus other offices and committees are up for election. The terms are for three years.

Four candidates are vying for president: incumbent Denise Rakestraw; Perry Gulledge; Cornell ‘Slim’ Stevens; and Johnny P. Stevens.

Paper ballots may be cast from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the local, 1032 South Marietta Parkway in Marietta. Results will be tabulated tonight and posted on the local’s website.

The company’s contract with its union employees does not expire until 2014.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
HY in FW
December 07, 2012
Welcome to Fort Worth, Ya'll!

Great place to live and raise a family. Great venues for just about every activity you desire.

Booming economy and prospects for even better economic development in the future.

Get your boots on and load up the van!

Harvey Youngblood

Architect, Realtor
December 05, 2012
Good paying jobs going to Texas.

I have ordered my Boots.

Obama you did away with my job.

Obama you let the dead beet union members, your supporters stay.
December 05, 2012
another nail in the coffin for this dying city..lol so glad I left
December 05, 2012
Glad Tim Lee had so much foresight in giving the county employees a 3% pay raise instead of a bonus. We need to thank all the union DA’s that voted for Obamanomics. If you sell a little crack to help with unemployment you should be okay. Maybe with fewer cars on the road Timmy can get Lockheed clean air credits that can go to the county for the 3 percent raises. Timmy must be using Dark Ladies crystal ball!!
December 05, 2012
These must be the "green" jobs Obama promised.

I hope the Lockheed union has a lot of reserves. They will need it with the coming fiscal cliff.

December 04, 2012
Here's your Obama economy coming home to roost!
December 04, 2012
That sounds like 560 fewer cars clogging our roads while taking paychecks home to Paulding, Bartow or Polk County, and $250 million less of our tax money being spent on the defense industry jobs program, so yay.
December 04, 2012
I guess that this is part of Tim Lee's assurance about sustainability.

“Lee reassured his fellow commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting that “leading economists” had told him the pay raises are sustainable.”
mk-rip smyrna
December 04, 2012
BYE-BYE Cobb!!

Hello,.. Texas!!

Austin is looking mighty good these days, too!

I lived in Dallas/Ft.Worth in '80's-- really nice place!! Lots' to see & do!!

..and no state tax, either!!
Harvey Youngblood
December 07, 2012
Fort worth is a GREAT place! Thanks for the compliment. I have lived in Fort Worth for 38 years now and really would not care to live anywhere else long term.

Welcome to Texas!

Harvey Youngblood, Architect, Realtor
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