June 16, 2010
Less outsourcing, and more local jobs, is what aviation workers say they hope companies will keep in mind as they form new contract agreements. Negotiations are underway between Wichita machinists, and Spirit Aerosystems. Wednesday, workers held a job rally to help spread their message.
So far, there has been positive news coming from the negotiating table. Machinist Union leaders say they're making good progress with Spirit on a new contract. But union members say they want to make sure they express how strongly they feel about the importance of local jobs.
"I think some of these companies have taken advantage of the downturn in the economy as a way to move work out of here faster," said Machinist Union District President Steve Rooney.
Despite the rally, union leaders say negotiations have been going smoothly.
"Negotiations so far with Spirit have been very good, very positive, very upbeat," said Rooney.
A Spirit Aerosystems spokesman says the company was aware of the rally, but declined to comment on it. Spirit and the machinists have released a joint statement on negotiations saying, "These negotiations have been very different than the usual labor-management negotiations. We are seeking to find common ground on the issues before us."
"It's going smoother than about any negotiations at this point that I've been involved in, and I've been involved in many," said Rooney.
Machinist negotiators say they're happy with new agreements on job selection procedures and lay-off and recall rights. No word yet on how long the negotiations will last.