Hawker Beechcraft announced this week that more than 250 high-skill, high-paying jobs will be eliminated when it closes a factory in Salina, KS. A company spokesperson confirmed that half the jobs would go to a facility in Mexico and half to outside vendors.
When the closure was first announced in November 2009, company officials indicated they might shift Salina’s wing and spar work to Wichita, but now say all of the work will be outsourced to cut costs.
The announcement is the latest blow to workers and a state that has seen unemployment soar in the wake of the global financial crisis and negative publicity for corporate jet use.
The news about Salina broke just days after a Feb. 14 article in the Wichita Eagle that asked, “Could Wichita be the Detroit of Aircraft.” The answer, according to a bulletin distributed to IAM members by District 70, is NO. “The problems that befell Detroit were caused by horribly managed companies that no longer cared about building cars that people wanted to drive,” declared the bulletin. “We have a strong, skilled and innovative workforce which is far more productive with better quality than anyone else.”
The pursuit of low-wage labor in Mexico raises additional questions. “How long before our children are crossing that border in search of a job, any job? Will there be border guards with orders to keep out the American illegals?” asked District 70’s provocative bulletin. “The Machinists are here to partner with the community and companies that understand the importance of a strong, skilled workforce that can change, improve and innovate better than anyone else.”