FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Union workers at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. approved a new three-year contract on Sunday, ending a two-week strike called to gain better wages and lower insurance costs.

Members of Machinists Local 776 passed the contract 2,192 to 554. Representatives of the 4,000-member local and Lockheed Martin agreed early Saturday to the new contract proposal.

The strike – the third since 1984 – began on April 14 after members rejected a proposal with wage increases that some union members said would be consumed sharply by higher health care costs.

One of the most objectionable provisions, according to workers, was a change requiring greater worker co-payments on prescription drugs.

Under the new contract, workers will receive a 4 percent pay raise in the first year and a 3 percent raise in the last two years, plus added holidays.

Employees also will get a $1,500 signing bonus and higher retirement pay.

The dispute over health care benefits was settled with workers getting a cap on prescription co-payments.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics President Dain Hancock said a 107 percent increase in health care costs was the reason behind tightened health insurance benefits.

Striking workers missed their first paycheck on Friday.

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin builds F-16 fighter jets at its Fort Worth plant. Lockheed also builds the F-2, another fighter jet, for Japan. The union’s production workers will begin building the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter later this year.

Last week, Lockheed landed a $3.5 billion order to build 48 F-16 jets for the Polish government.

AP-ES-04-27-03 2027EDT

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