Machinists Reject Hawker Beechcraft Offer

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Machinists at Hawker Beechcraft voted against a new seven-year contract offer that included a 10 percent pay cut and other concessions aimed at keeping the company from moving out of Kansas.

Bob Wood, spokesman for the airplane maker's union, said 55% of the members voted against accepting the contract. The union had recommended its members accept the contract to protect two-thirds of the remaining jobs.

The contract required a simple majority for approval, and there was no strike vote.

Governor Mark Parkinson brokered a deal last week to keep five major
production lines in Wichita after reports emerged that Louisiana had offered the debt-ridden aircraft maker millions in incentives to lure its 6,000 jobs to Baton Rouge. Kansas' incentives were contingent on the company reaching a long-term contract with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

At the Kansas Coliseum pavilions before the vote was announced, the mood was not good. Many employees felt the company was going to do what it wanted to do, either way the vote went.

Hawker Beechcraft machinists worry about their future no matter what. With all of the uncertainty over the last few weeks frustration runs rampant. They say the company has too many vice presidents who aren't making the sacrifices they are asked to make.

"It's over $220 a week, $800 a month," Hawker Beechcraft Machinist Mike Sparks says. "For what? They're gonna leave anyway," he adds.

Steve Carley, also a Hawker Beechcraft Machinist agrees, "They're gone anyway. They've been wanting to do this for years. I mean, they had this all planed up to 7 to 8 years ago when Raytheon had it."

The workers still have one year left on their current deal signed two years ago, barring any additional layoff notices. But after that, nobody knows for sure where Hawker Beechcraft will land.

"Even if this money is given to them and this contract is voted in, the procedures that are in place and have been for years on outsourcing will continue because it has not slowed down since this has been reopened," another machinist worker says.

As these dedicated machinists continue to file in and out and cast their votes, many of them say they believe that no matter what the contract vote is, yes or no, the company will continue to downsize its workforce in Wichita.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Machinists employees at Hawker Beechcraft have rejected the company's contract offer by a margin of 55% to 45%. The contract rejection means the offer from the state of Kansas to Hawker Beechcraft is off the table.

Machinist union spokeswoman Rita Rogers said, "The employees have spoken and there are too many takeaways."
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Machinists workers are gathering today at the Kansas Coliseum Pavilion for a crucial vote on Hawker Beechcraft's contract vote. No one will vote until after a meeting with union leaders who will be explaining the details of the contract.

Union leaders believe Hawker could move work to Louisiana if the company does not get the concessions called for in the contract.

Employees are being asked to approve a 7-year contract. It calls for a 10% wage cut, and will raise insurance premiums.

Voting ends at 1:30 p.m. KAKE's Jared Cerullo is at the Kansas Coliseum and will be reporting via twitter and on KAKE's web channel throughout the morning.

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