Hawker Beechcraft May Move Operations, Cut Workers

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Hawker Beechcraft's CEO Bill Boisture says demand for his company's products has dramatically decreased, that the drop is not temporary, and his company may cut workers and move some of its operations to remain profitable, according to the Wichita Eagle. Earlier this year, Hawker Beechcraft closed its Salina, Kan., plant and sent some of that work to Mexico. Now, the company says it may move more work, this time from Wichita to Mississippi or Louisiana, or somewhere outside the United States. The company currently employs about 6,000 people in Wichita, but told its workers union last week that it may consider laying off up to 75 percent of the company's hourly workers to help maintain profitability. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer doesn't want the company to leave, but may have limited influence.

"If approached by the company, we'll obviously do whatever we can to help them grow here in Kansas," the mayor told the Eagle. Mayor Brewer said he had set a meeting with the company and hopes to explore what the city might do to help retain jobs in the city. Meanwhile, machinists union officials are not yet negotiating with Hawker Beechcraft, but union and company leaders have met to discuss the challenges ahead. The company lost more than $63 million in the first quarter of 2010 after cutting 2,700 jobs last year.