Says Planemaker Trying To Hide Goal Of Establishing Full
The International Association of
Machinists is up in arms over alleged plans by Hawker Beechcraft to
establish a full aircraft assembly plant in Chihuahua, Mexico.
IAM says the five-year plan, dubbed "Project Pelican," is
outlined in documents containing detailed instructions on how the
company planned to conceal the scope of the plan from the public,
the press and employees at Hawker Beechcraft's Wichita, KS assembly
"Never mention the potential of full aircraft assembly," is
among the covert marching orders for Hawker Beechcraft managers
tasked with purchasing land, negotiating tax breaks with the
Mexican government and hiring a workforce.
Instead, IAM says, managers were instructed to frequently cite
global competition and the need for "additional capacity other than
"Hawker Beechcraft shows no recognition of the damage they do to
our economy, our industrial base or our national security when they
transfer sophisticated technology and production to countries that
turn around and compete with US-based companies," said IAM
President Tom Buffenbarger. "Thanks to NAFTA and other job-killing
trade deals, we're encountering this phenomenon at every bargaining
table in the aerospace industry."
Company spokesman Andrew Broom denies the union's claims, saying
the internal outsourcing proposal, commissioned in May 2007, has
already been shelved. He told KSN-TV the company has been very
candid about the
opening of the small parts production facility last
October, which may eventually grow to support 650
In contrast, Broom added, HBC has
hired over 1,200 people in the last year, and wants to fill another
700 positions. "The real story is what's going on in Wichita,"
Broom told the Wichita Eagle.
IAM Aerospace Coordinator Ron Eldridge doesn't buy that,
however. Noting Broom "did not deny the company's outsourcing
plans," Eldridge -- who, incidentally, is currently involved in
negotiating new contracts for 4,300 IAM workers at Hawker
Beechcraft -- believes the planemaker has a more ominous intent
with setting up the plant in Mexico.
"Never before did Hawker Beechcraft disclose their intent to
build a final assembly line in Mexico," said Eldridge. "This is
deceit on a grand scale and will be a huge issue in the workplace
and at the bargaining table."