Machinists to Vote Hawker Pension Proposal

Members of Local 733 in Wichita, KS employed at Hawker Beechcraft Corp. (HBC) will have an opportunity to vote this week on a proposal that would prevent termination of their existing defined benefit pension plan.

The proposed contract change has the unanimous recommendation of the IAM District 70, Local 733 Bargaining Committee and would require the bankrupt plane maker to continue funding the IAM members’ defined benefit plan. All features of the existing defined benefit plan, including early retirement options and scheduled benefit increases will be honored under the proposed modification.

Additionally, all other elements of the current IAM-HBC collective bargaining agreement, including wage rates, work rules and health care coverage would remain unchanged.

While current pension plan benefits would be preserved, the existing plan would be frozen for future accruals effective December 31, 2012. After that date, a deferred contribution Retirement Income Saving Plan (RISP) would be added to the current 401(k) plan to provide future employee retirement benefits.

“The latest proposal represents a significant improvement over earlier proposals that included complete termination of the defined benefit pension plan,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinator Ron Eldridge. “Preserving a defined benefit pension plan at a company in the midst of bankruptcy reorganization is a significant achievment.”

If ratified by members, the contract change would still require approval by the bankruptcy judge.

Voting on the contract modification will take place following an informational meeting on Friday, August 24, with results announced later that day. Visit http://www.d70iam.org/ for vote results and more information.