Machinists Union Challenges Hawker Beechcraft Sale
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court opposing an attempt by Hawker Beechcraft, Inc., to expedite the sale of its assets to a little-known Chinese company, Superior Aviation Beijing Co., Ltd.
“The proposed sale of Hawker Beechcraft to a Chinese government-backed entity has broad implications for the U.S. economy and national security,” said IAM International president Tom Buffenbarger. “The sale should not be rushed through without adequate scrutiny by all interested parties, including federal regulators, state officials and the Wichita community. As the necessary review process has not yet commenced, giving Superior the exclusive right to negotiate the purchase of Hawker at this time is premature.”
In its court filing, the IAM expressed serious concern that the sale could facilitate the transfer of valuable commercial and military-related technology to China, leading to the loss of high-skilled, high-paying aerospace jobs while compromising U.S. national security interests.
“While Superior claims that it does not intend to purchase or control Hawker’s defense-related businesses, Superior would retain an interest in the defense businesses and would be entitled to receive proceeds from the eventual sale of those businesses,” said Buffenbarger. “Such terms and conditions warrant the most serious scrutiny from members of Congress and the appropriate intelligence agencies.”
The proposed Hawker-Superior sale agreement also requires the termination of all three of Hawker’s defined benefit pension plans, including the one for more than 3,500 IAM-represented members employed at Hawker Beechcraft. “The prospect of lost pension benefits for Hawker’s workers, while China’s aerospace industry benefits from the transfer of valuable U.S. technology is simply outrageous,” said IAM Aerospace coordinator Ron Eldridge.
The IAM is one of the largest industrial trade unions in North America, representing nearly 100,000 aerospace workers among 700,000 active and retired members in dozens of industries.
Previously on abfjournal.com: