Los Angeles City Councilman Robert Farrell on Monday proposed formation of a coalition of business groups, labor organizations and city agencies to soften the expected economic blow of Lockheed Corp.'s planned departure from Burbank.
The coalition measure, expected to be presented to the City Council next week, would pull together local private industry councils, chambers of commerce, labor groups and the city's Community Development Department. It would focus on retraining former Lockheed workers and keeping alive smaller businesses that depended on the aerospace giant for business, Farrell said.
"This is the organizing device of the '90s for social justice, economic justice in this city," Farrell said.
The proposal came after a special meeting of the City Council's Community and Economic Development Committee in Sun Valley to consider ways of softening the impact of Lockheed's departure. Representatives from Lockheed, labor organizations and private business groups offered their perspectives on the move during the two-hour meeting.
Lockheed announced May 8 that it was relocating much of its Burbank operation to newer facilities in Palmdale and Marietta, Ga., by the mid-1990s. Approximately 6,000 Lockheed workers are expected to lose their jobs--either through layoffs or forced retirement--by December, Lockheed spokesman Ross B. Hopkins said.
The city of Burbank and business groups in the southeast Valley already have begun programs to ease the transition. But because the impact of the company's move is expected to be felt beyond the borders of Burbank, Farrell said a larger coalition is necessary.
"A lot of people are doing things, but no one has put it all together yet," Hopkins said.
The Burbank City Council next week will consider an ordinance that would control development on the nearly 300 acres expected to be left vacant by Lockheed. But Hopkins said he feared that such an ordinance might have a devastating effect on the company's ability to sell the land. He said the key to economic recovery after Lockheed leaves is to return the land to productive use as quickly as possible.
The Burbank Chamber of Commerce last week held a job fair for Lockheed employees, and the Verdugo Private Industry Council--which includes Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena--has been providing job training since 1988.
"We have the land. We have the employees. We have the training," said Brian Bowman, a commissioner on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority and a member of the Verdugo Private Industry Council. "What we really need is the appropriate environment to nurture the basics that are there."
Don Nakamoto, spokesman for the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers AFL-CIO--the union that represents many Lockheed workers--said he was encouraged by Farrell's proposal. "I think it's critical for our people that this program gets off to a good start," he said.