|IAM General Vice President Rich Michalski was instrumental in the effort to keep Hawker Beechcraft from moving operations from Wichita, KS, to Baton Rouge, LA.|
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) workers in Wichita, KS, dodged a hail of bullets this week thanks to the outcome of discussions between Hawker Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture, Kansas Democratic Governor Mark Parkinson, IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger and IAM Headquarters GVP Rich Michalski.
A week ago, Local 733 negotiators were told by Hawker Beechcraft that the company was considering an offer from the state of Louisiana to move the entire Beechcraft facility to Baton Rouge, including corporate headquarters.
Governor Parkinson then called HBC CEO Bill Boisture and IAM President Tom Buffenbarger to explore ways Kansas could help keep the work in Kansas. Following a meeting between the Governor, Boisture and GVP Michalski, the governor announced that a deal had been reached to keep the “vast majority” of Hawker Beechcraft jobs in Kansas.
“We have an agreement in principle that allows the union and the company to resume their contract negotiations,” said Gov. Parkinson in a statement. “The state has offered, and Hawker Beechcraft has accepted, an incentive package for product development, workforce training and tuition reimbursement for Hawker Beechcraft and its employees in Wichita. This agreement is contingent upon successful conclusion of a new long-term labor agreement between the union and the company.”
The Machinists and HBC are returning to the bargaining table to finalize a tentative agreement and a ratification vote is set for Oct. 16th.
“General Vice President Michalski provided a strong voice for us and our jobs,” said the IAM Negotiating Committee in a bulletin to members. “You had someone there that wouldn’t take no for an answer, someone who put the concerns of the working families first.”