Hawker and Union To Reopen Contract Negotiations
Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft and the machinists union that represents its production workers agreed to reopen contract negotiations tomorrow, with a membership vote now scheduled for October 16, a union spokesman said. This comes on the heels of an agreement reached on Tuesday evening by the company, the union and Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson that would keep the “vast majority” of Hawker Beechcraft jobs in Wichita. “We have an agreement in principle that allows the union and the company to resume their contract negotiations,” said Parkinson. “The state has offered, and Hawker Beechcraft has accepted, an incentive package for product development, workforce training and tuition reimbursement…in Wichita.” However, he added that the agreement is contingent upon the successful conclusion of a new long-term labor agreement between the union and Hawker Beechcraft. Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO of Hawker Beechcraft, thanked the governor for his role and noted the “full support of the International Association of Machinists in pursuing this process jointly.” A major issue in the union negotiations has been the insistence by the company that among its options is the possibility of moving some jobs elsewhere, possibly to Mexico. Talks were suspended last Friday after union negotiators became aware that Louisiana was offering incentives to lure the entire company to Baton Rouge.