IAM President Speaks At Aero Club Meeting

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

The president of the International Machinists Union says neither presidential candidate is addressing the importance of the aviation industry. Tom Buffenbarger spoke to members of the Aero Club at their meeting in Wichita on Thursday. There, he gave high praise to one aviation company while voicing concern for another.

Buffenbarger praised the 2010 contract with Spirit AeroSystems which resulted in a 10-year contract, something that was unheard of at the time. He says both sides gained a greater trust in working together from those negotiations.

"The IAM and Spirit achieved what many said could not be done," said Buffenbarger. "It was a long term contract."

In an interview after the speech, he discussed his concerns about the future of Hawker Beechcraft and who will end up owning the company after it emerges from bankruptcy.

"We gave birth to that industry in the United States. And I think those companies, especially a storied company like Beechcraft, they need to stay in the U.S. and U.S. owned," Buffenbarger said.

While he continues to back President Barack Obama, Buffenbarger says neither party is saying enough about how much the aviation industry contributes to the economy.

"I've never seen a candidate even address the issue of the importance of general aviation to our economy and to our society," he said.

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