The United States’ Lockheed Martin: Rights violations at home and abroad
The following is an excerpt from the fourth issue of TNC Watch, a series on transnational and multinational corporations that violate people's rights. Read this issue here, and past TNC Watch issues here.
Lockheed Martin is among the primary actors in global warfare. In 2017, the company reported that 69% of its net sales were from the US government (including 58% from the Department of Defense), 30% from international customers (including foreign military sales contracted through the US government), and 1% from US commercial customers. [i]
The purchase of these arms by the US and other countries—albeit often justified as a measure for safety and defense—makes war more likely and, in effect, prompts the certainty of human rights violations.
Infographic by R. Villegas
The presence of Lockheed Martin in the Middle East
Among the most notable example of this is the laser-guided Lockheed Martin MK-82 bomb launched in 2018 by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, which caused the death of 40 children in a school bus. This came a year after a US$ 110-billion arms deal was secured among Lockheed Martin, US President Donald Trump, and Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. [ii]
Israel is a major user of Lockheed Martin products, with some of its local weapons companies—Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit Systems, Cyclone, and Tadiran—signing partnership agreements with Lockheed Martin worth a total of US$ 933 million as of 2016. The cost of these agreements ballooned to over US$ 1 billion in 2017. These weapons were used most notably in its summer 2006 intervention in Lebanon, where the company’s F-16 fighters were used to bomb Lebanese targets, effectively killing 1,183 people and displacing over a million civilians. [iii]
Similarly, in Israel’s intervention in the Gaza strip from the latter part of 2008 to the early part of 2009, Lockheed Martin F-16s were used to run bombing raids as part of the overall military operation known as Operation Cast Lead. It killed 1,421 people, including 345 minors. [iv]
In addition to its blatant violations of international law and human rights overseas, Lockheed Martin also has issues internal to the company itself, particularly in its workforce.
Lockheed Martin boasts a total of 105,000 employees in all its operations across the globe. [v] However, the company is rife with labor rights violations: in 2013, a former software engineer with disability claimed that Lockheed Martin placed him in a work schedule that contravened his doctor’s orders. When he complained to the management, he was forced to resign from his job. The engineer’s report stated that Lockheed Martin violated the Family and Medical Leave Act as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit is pending to this day. [vi]
Another disability discrimination incident was filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (US EEOC) in 2018 after the company refused the requests of an administrative assistant with post-concussive syndrome and mild traumatic brain injury to use a transcription or recording device, among other accommodations suited to her needs, before firing her eventually. [vii]
Lockheed Martin is also reported to