United Space Alliance is disappointed that employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have begun a strike action against the company. We believe our final contract offer was fair, competitive and responsive to union concerns, and we had hoped to reach an equitable agreement during our meeting with the IAM negotiating team on June 13. Unfortunately, the union's demands were well beyond what the company felt was reasonable or warranted. We continue to hope that the IAM members will reconsider their position.
Despite the strike, USA is prepared to continue activities to safely prepare the Space Shuttle vehicles for their upcoming launches by using other experienced and certified employees to perform all necessary tasks. Throughout this time, the safety of our employees, the astronaut crew members and the irreplaceable national assets at the Kennedy Space Center will remain our top priority. All safety practices and procedures will be maintained at their usual high standard and will not be compromised.
United Space Alliance is a world leader in space operations with extensive experience in virtually all aspects of the field. Headquartered in Houston and employing 10,000 people in Texas, Florida and Alabama, USA is applying its broad range of capabilities to NASA's Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation programs as well as to space operations customers in the commercial and international space industry sectors.