IAM Editorial Featured in Wichita Eagle

The commercial aviation cluster based in Wichita, KS continues to reel from a steep drop in sales that began in 2008, with several companies taking vastly different paths in an effort to survive the unprecedented downturn.

Spirit AeroSystems and Bombardier Aerospace have committed to Wichita, while Hawker Beechcraft is threatening to move thousands of jobs. Another Wichita landmark, Cessna Aircraft, recently opened another plant in Mexico.

“The threat is real, and the situation is serious,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez in an editorial published in The Wichita Eagle. “We’ve lost so many jobs because of the economic downturn; we can’t afford to lose them all permanently.”

Martinez called for a concerted effort by state and local officials to secure the city’s economic future and to prevent large-scale outsourcing to Mexico and other low-cost locations.

“The Machinists Union’s No. 1 goal is keeping the jobs in Wichita,” said Martinez. “We proved that by working with Spirit AeroSystems, forging a groundbreaking 10-year agreement in exchange for a commitment to keeping the jobs here. Last year we negotiated a good agreement with Bombardier that helped it commit to Wichita for the long haul, too.”

Click here to read the full editorial.