News Is Slow To Come For Employees At Kansas, Oklahoma
If you ask any worker at one of the Midwestern plants Boeing is
selling to Onex, "What's up?" chances are you'll get a blistering
look and an answer like, "Who knows? (liberally add expletives
Union workers at the plants in Wichita, KS, as well as Tulsa and
McAlester, OK, say they're being kept in the dark about their
futures -- and they're not getting much in the way of information
from the new owners. But one thing's sure: The entire Boeing-Onex
deal could very well fall apart if labor groups don't play ball
with the Canadian-based investment company.
"They've been pretty quiet," said
Debbie Logsdon, Midwest SPEEA chairwoman, quoted by KAKE-TV in
Wichita. "We haven't heard a whole lot. They don't want to release
anything, from what I'm hearing, until they have an offer that they
want to show the people and the members of the union."
But some employees say even the machinists' union and SPEEA are
holding their cards a little too close to the vest. "We don't get a
lot of information," employee Kevin Stuber told KAKE. "We get a few
things from the union, but they're real vague and we'd like to hear
more, because it has something to do with us, our job and our
There have been some ominous statements from Onex. First,
workers were told they'd have to reapply for their jobs under the
new ownership. Then they were told by Onex Managing Director Scott
Mersky there will be "short-term pain for some," according to the
Onex is currently negotiating with
the machinists. SPEAA workers will likely be called into the front
office next. And just in case the unions feel Onex is picking on
their members, Mersky told KAKE there are a lot of middle-managers
who might not be around much longer. Some of their jobs, he said,
aren't even necessary.
"So, those people either have to be redeployed in something more
directly focused on the business or those jobs could be
eliminated," said Mersky.