Nearly 4,500 IAM members of Local 733 in Wichita, KS will continue working under terms of their existing contract with Raytheon Aircraft Co. following the Dec. 21 sale of the company to a partnership formed by Toronto-based Onex and Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs.
The $3.3 billion deal, expected to be completed later this year, will create Hawker Beechcraft Corp. and include Raytheon facilities in Salina, KS, Dallas, TX and Little Rock, AR as well as fixed base operations in the U.S., Great Britain and Mexico. IAM members and representatives welcomed the announcement by the new company that all hourly workers would be retained.
“The preservation of existing jobs is a concern any time ownership of a large company changes hands,” said Aerospace Coordinator Ron Eldridge. “We developed a good working relationship with Onex during the sale of Boeing’s Wichita operations in 2005 and we expect that relationship to continue at Hawker Beechcraft.”
IAM leaders requested meetings with the new company’s leadership to discuss long-term issues, including outsourcing and equity sharing opportunities at the new company. “We’ve seen Wichita’s aerospace industry change over the past couple of years with new work coming in rather than work constantly being outsourced,” said District 70 President Steve Rooney. “It’s been good news for employees and the community but it’s ironic that a Canadian-owned company should take the lead in protecting U.S. jobs.”