Contract talks between union, Textron end abruptly

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Negotiations between the Machinists union and Wichita-based Textron Aviation broke down abruptly after company negotiators refused to put in writing that it would keep jobs in Wichita, a union official said.

A contract vote that was scheduled for Wednesday will not take place, Machinists District 70 spokesman Frank Molina told The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/11eIYDf ), and Textron said it will seek to outsource work to other states.

Texton, parent company of Cessna, bought Beechcraft in March and formed Textron Aviation. Contract talks have been ongoing to combine the two separate local unions of Beechcraft and Cessna Aircraft under a single labor agreement.

Textron said it wanted to negotiate a single contract for job protection, Molina said, but when company officials were asked to put that in writing they walked out of the room Sunday without offering a proposal.

“I told them this should be a no-brainer,” Molina said. “It goes to show how little the company thinks of the employees and Wichita.”

A company official told the union’s negotiating team that it has been getting regular calls from Louisiana officials offering hefty incentives to move the work to that state, Molina said. The company also is looking at other states, he said.

“I don’t take this lightly,” Molina said. “We heard what they said. They let us know they’re not interested in building aircraft in Wichita.”

Textron Aviation spokeswoman Nicole Alexander said the company had no comment on the labor negotiations process.

After news broke in 2010 that Hawker Beechcraft reportedly had received incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars from Louisiana to move the company to that state, Kansas put together a $45 million, 10-year incentive package to keep it in Wichita.

The Machinists represent 2,494 hourly workers at Cessna under Local Lodge 774 and 1,627 hourly workers at Beechcraft under Local Lodge 733.

Beechcraft’s current five-year labor agreement expires in 2016; Cessna’s seven-year agreement expires in 2017.

Those agreements will remain in place, Molina said.

 

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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