Hawker Beechcraft Threatens to Abandon Wichita

In a letter to the 2,400 members of District 70 who are employed at Hawker Beechcraft in Wichita, KS, District President and DBR Steve Rooney painted a grim picture of plans by the company to dramatically reduce its presence in Wichita. Rooney’s letter to members was posted following a meeting this week with company officials.

“The outlook given by the company was bleak for the future,” said Rooney. “The picture we are getting is of a Hawker Beechcraft Wichita that will shrink almost immediately by 75 percent or more within two years, without a guarantee of even the last few jobs staying.”

Rooney also indicated that Hawker Beechcraft is seeking a long-term contract with the IAM, but one that strips workers of union rights, without any long-term guarantees.

“We cannot commit to anything without guarantees, and we know that you cannot sacrifice rights, benefits and a standard of living only to see the jobs leaving our community in a few years anyway,” wrote Rooney, who listed seniority and due process rights among the protections targeted for elimination by Hawker. “We are not, at this time, opening negotiations. We will not do so until we believe there could be a realistic path to success and job security.”

In a response to Rooney’s letter, the company issued a statement that said in part, ‘The company values this partnership and believes that there is a great opportunity available to us to work together to influence a positive outcome.”