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Hawker Beechcraft and labor union strike tentative deal

August 2, 2011, 02:00 pm

In Wichita, Kansas, airplane manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft made a tentative deal with the International Association of Machinists labor union. The current contract between the two organizations will expire soon, and union members plan on voting on the new contract the day before the expiration.

There won't be any wage increases for the first two years of the five-year contract, and employees will pay an increased share of healthcare costs, according to the Wichita Eagle. The labor union represents more than 2,500 hourly employees at Hawker Beechcraft.

"This is about the future," said Bob Wood, union spokesman. "We understand the industry is having a lot of trouble right now. We understand that Hawker's got financial problems, so we worked hard to come to an agreement that our members could accept and that is good for the company, too, to save jobs in Wichita."

Even though the new contract doesn't offer wage increases in the first two years, it does provide an opportunity for a performance pay plan involving a management incentive arrangement.

Keeping labor union members who work on airplanes happy is an integral component of the general aviation industry. Without satisfied workers, aircraft manufacturing could become less precise and lead to an unfortunate increase in pilot life insurance claims.

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