Cessna, IAM Start Contract Negotiations
Cessna Aircraft and the union that represents 2,300 of the company’s factory workers–the International Association of Machinists Lodge 774–began contract negotiations on Friday. The workers’ current contract expires September 19. The economic backdrop to these negotiations differs greatly from three years ago, when the general aviation aircraft manufacturing industry was booming. Cessna is now facing an uncertain future, given the overall economy and increased competition from Embraer, which means the company will likely need some concessions from workers this time around. “This is all about jobs,” said Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton at the opening negotiations. “It’s about saving and preserving our industry and the jobs and the work force we have and the members that we have.” Meanwhile, last Wednesday Cessna issued 60-day layoff notices to 75 workers at its Independence, Kan. facility, where the Citation Mustang light jet and all of its piston aircraft are manufactured. Cessna said sales have slowed this year for the Mustang as well as the piston lines.