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
Union greed and stupidity at its best......worst!
I don't have a dog directly in the hunt altho do live in KS, not in
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.
The problem isn't companies as a whole but rather the economy and
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.....
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
The idiots in the union or the idiots running the union who had the
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.
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
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.
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
Just another sign of the changing economy.
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?
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.
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