Machinists in Wichita
voted Saturday to accept the latest five-year labor offer from
Mid-Western Aircraft Systems by a large majority. Eighty-nine
percent of members voting decided in favor of the new contract.
"They voted for jobs, and they voted for a new beginning," said
Machinists union aerospace coordinator Dick Schneider according to
the Wichita Eagle.
The agreement covers about 4,400 workers.
"We're extremely pleased," said Onex Corp. managing director Nigel
He said the company is "cognizant that this is an opportunity to
work in really close partnership with the union to do everything we
hope to do here, which is become a world-class competitor, get new
work... and bring new jobs into the community."
The contract was similar to one rejected last month. In that
case, after learning that hundreds of their co-workers had been let
go, workers had rejected the contract in hopes that the sale would
fall through and that Boeing would continue to run the show.
However, Onex decided to go ahead with the purchase.
The contract initially reduces wages by ten percent, and
increases health care and other expenses. However, it has
guaranteed wage increases in future years, includes the Union's
national pension fund, and also includes stock options for the
The options have some profit and other restrictions attached,
but they provide a mechanism for the union sacrifices to pay off in
A new apprenticeship program will begin as part of the contract
and the company agrees to hire from the union's list of laid off
workers and to start them at 90 percent of their former wages if
they're hired in the next year.
A company spokesman reported that it plans to hire about 500
workers in about 30 days, and possibly more by the end of the
The months of uncertainty have been difficult on workers
involved. With a new company, and a new contract, they're trying to
"I think it's a winning situation, but I think it's going to
take a little while to get there," said Gary Carr, a 24 year former
Boeing Employee to the Eagle. "We need to get back to work building