Sun, Aug 26, 2012
Nearly Unanimous Vote To For New Retirement Plan
Members of the International Association of Machinists Lodge 733 voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new pension plan at Hawker Beechcraft Friday morning. When the votes were counted, officials said 97 percent of those voting said "yes" to the new plan.
The plan keeps pensions for hourly employees, but future accruals will be frozen as of December 31st of this year. It also creates a new Retirement Income Savings Plan and maintains the existing 401(k) plan. The changes had been unanimously supported by the union leadership, according to a report in the Wichita Eagle.
Several employees told the paper that they felt they had no choice but to approve the plan, and it was the best they were going to get. HBC executives said approval of the plan would mean the company's headquarters would stay in Wichita for at least 10 years, and maintain current employment levels at about 4,000. Workers told the paper that approving the plan gave them some assurance that their pensions would be preserved even with the ongoing bankruptcy negotiations.
Pensions for non-union and salaried employees will be taken over by the Pension Benefits Guaranty Fund, an agency of the federal government.
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