Hawker Beechcraft To Keep Wichita Plant Open

By: Chris Frank/Associated Press Email
By: Chris Frank/Associated Press Email

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UPDATE: Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hundreds of Hawker Beechcraft Employees here in plant one learn that they will still have a job. The company announcing plant one is to remain open.

Those present inside Plant 1 for the announcement say there was loud cheering and applause. And why not? The company had previously announced Plant 1 would actually close in 2011.

The plant and its employees feel like the won a reprieve with some saying it’s like Christmas.

Work in Plant 1 includes a lot of fabrication, paint, sub-assemblies, and small parts production Hawker’s been outsourcing to suppliers and its own facilities in Mexico. In a statement, the company says there will still be some movement of work between facilities as some operations may return to Plant 1 and others may move.

Rita Rogers, Business Rep for the machinists union to Hawker, says specifically 326 hourly jobs are saved in this, but the company isn’t saying how many jobs are being saved. Union reps and Hawker brass have been meeting since August in a joint partnership steering committee, seeing ways to improve processes and cut costs. Those talks led to this turnaround.

Machinists Union Business Rep Shaun Junkins says, "And now they know tomorrow and next week they have a job and the company is looking for ways to improve processes to keep this work here."

They say employees now have hope.

Machinists Union Business Rep Rita Rogers says, “And the good thing is it's just the start of where we want to go from here."

Union committee members saying there's still work to be done on issues to help save jobs elsewhere in Hawker Beechcraft

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hawker Beechcraft officials say its Wichita Plant 1 will remain open, saving hundreds of jobs.

The airline manufacturing company had previously announced that it would close two plants in Wichita in 2011, with operations transitioned or outsourced to other facilities or suppliers.

In a letter to union members, the company announced Thursday morning that it expects to keep Plant 1 open. The overall volume of work is will be maintained. The union said the decision will affect 326 hourly employees.

The decision is part of a joint partnership between the company and the Machinists union that was forged during contract negotiations last

Workers in Plant I perform fabrication work, such as the production of small part assemblies.

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