Machinists Union Backing Beechcraft Over Brazil in Air Force Fighter Flap
WASHINGTON -- March 8, 2013
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today
cited the threat to 1,400 American jobs in its call for a reversal of the
recent U.S. Air Force contract favoring Brazilian-based Embraer over Wichita,
KS-based Beechcraft Corp.
On February 27, 2013, the Air Force announced it selected Embraer for an
initial contract worth $427.5 million to build and deliver 20 Light Air
Support aircraft to the Afghan Air Force. The selection process is now facing
intense scrutiny for choosing a significantly more expensive aircraft in the
midst of sequestration and failing to consider the impact on U.S. workers, the
U.S. industrial base and U.S. national security interests.
“We should be very concerned whenever U.S. taxpayer dollars are used to create
hundreds of jobs in any foreign country,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.
“We should be outraged when the loss of those jobs also threatens vital U.S.
economic and national security interests.”
“I don’t know why the U.S. government is bending over backwards to accommodate
Brazil in the midst of sequestration, but this is a real blow to American
workers and taxpayers,” added Buffenbarger. “The claim by Embraer that most of
their plane would be ‘built in the USA’ adds insult to the injury of the 1,400
jobs that will be destroyed here at home.”
The IAM represents more than 3,000 active and laid off workers at Beechcraft,
which recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. In 2012, IAM
members ratified a new contract with Beechcraft that preserved pensions for
employees while giving the 80-year old company the needed financial lift for a
“In the midst of an industry-wide crisis, Beechcraft partnered with its
employees and union representatives to give this storied company a new lease
on life,” said Buffenbarger. “It would be a cruel irony if they survived the
great recession only to be mowed down by a misguided bidding process that
favored a foreign nation over U.S. national interests.”
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. For more information about the IAM, visit
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