IAM Reopens Negotiations with Hawker Beechcraft

 - August 19, 2010, 1:03 PM

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers began contract negotiations with Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) today. The current contract expires in about a year, according to IAM Local Lodge 733. If a majority of members vote for the proposal, it will replace the current contract, but “there will not be a strike vote taken, and we cannot strike on this proposal,” said a statement from Lodge 733. “The consequences of inaction would be grim. The situation with Hawker Beechcraft is serious, and they are looking at several possibilities to move jobs from Wichita. The company is asking for cost savings, flexibility and a longer-term agreement to be more competitive. HBC has the facility in Mexico, and states like Mississippi and Louisiana are bidding for our jobs.” According to a statement from Hawker Beechcraft, “We continue to experience unprecedented times for the business and general aviation industry worldwide and in Wichita. We have been meeting with the union leadership for the last several weeks in a constructive and frank manner to discuss these challenges and potential solutions. We have been open about these discussions being vitally important to the future presence of Hawker Beechcraft in Wichita." Commenting on the wisdom of moving jobs away from Wichita, Zenith Jet’s George Tsopeis writing in Gerson Lehrman Group News’s “The Teetering State of Hawker Beechcraft,” warned, “Moving these jobs offshore would effectively reset the learning curves to a production workforce not even remotely as skilled as the one in Wichita.”