September 29, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
According to Wichita television station KAKE-TV, Hawker Beechcraft employees staged a protest after the latest round of layoffs. On Sept. 28 Hawker Beechcraft gave 240 employees their 60-day layoff notices. But some workers question the move.
“We’re letting the community be aware of what Hawker Beechcraft is doing to the employees. They’re going around and telling everybody that we’re being laid off. We’re not being laid off. We’re being subcontracted,” said worker Debbie Thornbro. Workers assert that lower-paid substitutes will do the work. Some of the laid-off workers have been with Hawker Beechcraft for decades, and some are second- or third-generation employees.
Hawker Beechcraft spokewoman Nicole Alexander would not comment on the protest. However, she told AOPA that the company is “continually evaluating the second and third shift.”
As AOPA has previously reported, Hawker Beechcraft had laid off more than 2,600 employees this year as of the end of August. According to The Wichita Eagle, the Hawker Beechcraft has shed about 29 percent of the company’s workforce since last November, when it had a total of 9,790 employees.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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