FAA Would Pay Workers' Salaries As They Work For Lockheed
Flight Service Station
workers who watched as their jobs were outsourced to Lockheed
earlier this month may still be able to collect retirement
benefits, if a Senate amendment passed last week is approved.
According to the Washington Post, the amendment -- approved last
week by the Senate -- would aid employees who were within two
years of federal retirement age, and are at risk of losing all or
most of their pension credits, after losing their jobs when the FAA
transferred their duties to Bethesda, MD-based Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed won the contract to operate FSS facilities under
President Bush's "competitive sourcing" initiative, which calls on
agencies to determine whether the government's commercial
activities can be turned over to the private sector and provided at
a lower cost, according to the Washington Post.
The amendment would essentially keep those workers on the
federal payroll so they could qualify for their civil service
retirement and insurance benefits. These workers would work in
Lockheed-operated facilities, but be paid by Uncle Sam.
Lockheed spokesman Joe Wagovich said the company supported the
Senate amendment, saying it "will help employees who are close to
retirement." The loss of federal pension credits "has been a point
of contention, and we are happy that they will be dealt with in
this manner," he said.
Lockheed has hired
1,648 of the displaced FAA employees, according to the FAA.
Estimates of those helped by the proposal ranged from 175 to
The case could set a precedent for dealing with federal
employees near retirement and who lose their jobs due to
privitization, or through the upcoming round of base closings.
The Senate plan is also seen as a compromise over an earlier
House-backed bill that, if approved by the Senate, would nullify
the Lockheed contract outright. It is that bill that has drawn
threats of a presidential veto.