OT: Another Labor Union Chooses Death (kinda long)

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The Machinists and Aerospace Workers of Wichita chose death over continued employment last week. With General Aviation feeling the brunt of a double blow (cyclic sales downturn + record-poor economy) Hawker Beechcraft has been struggling to stay afloat. The company and Wichita have been working together to forge an economic incentive package to keep the old Beechcraft in Wichita. The company announced a couple of weeks ago that they would keep most operations in Wichita if the Union would ratify an agreement to accept some wage and benefit decreases - Otherwise, they had standing plans and offers to move. The city of Wichita strongly urged the membership to accept the offer, because Beech had already outsourced a significant amount of work to Mexico; and a Louisiana location was strongly courting the company for the 'full meal deal' - complete buyout of operations. The rumor mill is also indicating that a major defense company is poised to buy some of their lucrative training and defense work.
Guess what - the union said no!
Guess what else - The company announced this morning that most of its remaining Wichita backshop and subassembly operations would be moved to Mexico during the January through August 2011 time frame. Immediate effect - 900 jobs, not counting 350 salaried workers that were laid off this Friday. If the Louisiana deal works out, Beech, one of the founding companies of Wichita's aircraft manufacturing legacy, could be gone in a matter of 1-2 more years. For those who yell "company greed" I would add that several of the executive management team have invested millions from their pockets to help the company develop new products during this downturn. They have also accepted the same pay and benefit cuts proposed to the union.
Do these people not own televisions, radios or subscribe to newspapers? They are converting Wichita from "Aircraft Capital of the World" to "Food Stamp Capital of Kansas"; and they are taking hundreds of salaried engineers, technicians and business ad folks with them. As of last week, the week after the union vote, the outflow of talented engineers and other professionals, to other companies had begun - some companies are standing by to scoop up the cream of Beech's crop.
Union greed and stupidity at its best......worst!
RonB
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On 10/24/2010 12:24 PM, RonB wrote:

Not at all!! ... it is surely Bush's fault, eh?
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yup..that'll learn thum....
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RonB wrote:

due to unions? I'm sure there is one for how many jobs lost to greedy corporations.
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RonB wrote:

...
I don't have a dog directly in the hunt altho do live in KS, not in Wichita...
Call me cynical but having watched the overall situation w/ Cessna, Boeing/Spirit, Lear/Bombardier the last several years and the most recent Hawker-Beech stir-up, I'm convinced H-B management deliberately caused a union vote on a contract they knew wouldn't be ratified for the express purpose of have an excuse to do what they had already decided to do. If, on the outside chance the threats had worked, I'm also convinced within another year or two at the outside we would have been hearing the same dire news. Note for those who aren't aware that this vote was for a revision of an existing relatively new agreement some two years before the end of their current contract.
As a Kansan, while I would certainly like to see Beech (not so much Hawker since believe it was their cause after purchasing Beech that has caused the majority of the problems as opposed to Beechcraft themselves as an entity) stay in Wichita, but not at the expense of the rest of the State continuing to be held hostage and subsidizing them as the Guv's plan to which the aforementioned vote was also tied.
Certainly the rest of us outside Wichita and KCK areas are tired of always receiving the short end of the stick in KS revenue and services.
I don't generally have much sympathy for the union being self-employed but I can't be too harsh on them on this one; I don't think other than perhaps a little quicker time frame than otherwise might have been that the end result is any different than if they had ratified this one.
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The problem isn't companies as a whole but rather the economy and the opportunity.
The amount of jobs available has increased in this area. But the actual wages offered has declined. I applied for a job 2 months ago that I turned down 3 years ago because I was making better than what they were offering. I was interviewed again and was told that it was starting at $3 less per hour than when I turned it down. This company has been in the area a long time and always has work.
So this company is no different. It sees opportunity. If the jobs are going to Louisiana, it is their decision. With many communities offering big incentives to attract jobs, I can't blame them especially in this economy. The cost savings are big in some cases and if they can't save where they are at, they will look elsewhere.
Now if they arbitrarily moved the jobs to Mexico, then I could see some outrage. But they had a chance to save themselves.....
Allen
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When your patch grows fewer beans, you eat fewer beans. IOW, I think there is even going to be more belt-tightening now that they are all out of work. Now their patch is growing no beans at all.
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On Sun, 24 Oct 2010 17:04:22 -0700 (PDT), Robatoy

Won't they get union unemployment wages for awhile (that they already paid in) now that the union bent 'em over?
-- An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. -- Sir Winston Churchill
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wrote:

I wonder by what margin the idiots passed that vote....
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On Sun, 24 Oct 2010 19:29:41 -0700 (PDT), Robatoy

The idiots in the union or the idiots running the union who had the actual say?
-- If you're looking for the key to the Universe, I've got some good news and some bad news.
The bad news: There is no key to the Universe.
The good news: It was never locked. --Swami Beyondananda
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wrote:

LOL!
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On Sun, 24 Oct 2010 13:38:41 -0500, dpb wrote:

Cynical? I'd call it realistic. But it would have been nice if the union had called their bluff. Too much greed on both sides.
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A well though-out look on the situation. Thanks for that. The world does look a little different when you're self employed, wot?
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Robatoy wrote:

Well, it just so happens that this afternoon I saw the Wichita Eagle story -- it isn't quite so dire a situation as the OP's post makes it sound at the moment anyway. What H-B announced was cuts/layoffs of the already planned non-hourly and that the King production is going to go out-source and Mexico. However, remaining existing production in Wichita is there for the time-being as it was.
The out-sourcing will probably put a fair number of same folks to work for the smaller shops in Wichita rather than as H-B employees so even that isn't a total loss in all likelihood.
As for the longer term, I'd surely think it too early to make a definitive call--I'm sure the Guv has been on the blower regarding the incentive package and all and there are things yet to happen that aren't public or anybody's talking about...
LA is a club H-B is using, certainly. Whether they want anything out of it more than the leverage it allows, only they can know for certain.
The pisser imo is it appears to be pretty high probabilities that it's the existence of the massive amounts of Federal $$ dumped in to LA post-Katrina that has allowed the funds to be found to be able to create these incentives.
This thing of localities/states subsidizing industries that are supposed to be private enterprise has just gotten totally out of hand imo; this is just a recent example.
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"RonB" wrote:
<snip>

Has the smell of a set up.
Go back 40 years, move to the "Rust Belt", and it was the same thing for the domestic steel and automotive industries.
Let's face it, Wichita is a one horse town when it comes to industry.
It has the aircraft industry and not much else.
If you want to live there, you accept the fact you're not in a strong bargaining position which is not unique to Wichita.
There are one horse towns all across the country.
Just look at Wilmington, OH when Airborne pulled up stakes and left town.
Just another sign of the changing economy.
Lew
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Still going on -- GM was closing their Indianapoolis stamping plant, but had an offer from JD Norman to buy the operation. The offer was contingent on union acceptance of wage cuts for employees hired going forward. Union national said take the deal, Union local leadership said no ^&%(&*^*& way. Vote came, concessions turned down. Plant will close.
Union local management -- many had come here as a result of other closings -- will move along to other GM positions. Their brethern, well, they're taking it in the ear.
Nice. real nice. Doesn't "union" connote all for one?
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"Steve" wrote:

Indy was one of several stamping plants within GM that spent a ton of money for new stamping presses in the mid '80s.
It was also marked the birth of Saturn.
Roger was on a major expansion kick across GM back then.
Too bad he failed to realize the market no longer wanted big tail fins on Detroit's unreliable offerings.
Lew
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Also too bad: Saturn became just another marque offering standard (read: rebadged) GM fare, rather than the plucky little upstart it once was.
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Way to go! That union really showed THEM, didn't they?
Steve
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that H-B would go that route. Are they defence contractors as well by chance?
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