Machinist union members approved a four-year contract at Textron Aviation over the weekend that takes effect today. The contract with Local Lodge 774 replaces one negotiated and approved by the union in 2014, following the acquisition and merger of Hawker Beechcraft with Cessna. The Wichita manufacturer noted that the agreement enables the company "to weather this challenging economy...and eventually return to growing our business."
The union, representing about 4,500 machinists at Textron Aviation, began contract negotiations on August 17. The Cessna and Beechcraft airframer had attempted to begin negotiations in June, an effort that had been soundly defeated by a vote of the union. Approved by 64 percent of voting machinists, the contract included additional contributions to employee health savings plans; a no-deductible health care plan option; language that increases job security; general wage increases; and a voluntary retirement plan for employees who are 55 or older and have at least five years of service.
“The focus of our negotiations with Textron Aviation was to bring the employees represented by the IAM to be something that would benefit the group as a whole, without the need to have a work stoppage,” said District 70 Machinists president and directing business representative Cornell Beard. "I believe we did that or we'd be walking a picket line right now."