Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aircraft Companies to Hold Job Fair Mcdonnell Strikers Encouraged to Apply

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aircraft Companies to Hold Job Fair Mcdonnell Strikers Encouraged to Apply

Article excerpt

Boeing Corp. and three other aircraft manufacturers are looking to hire 2,000 machinists - and McDonnell Douglas Corp. strikers are welcome to apply for jobs today.

Four aircraft manufacturers with plants in Wichita, Kan., are holding a joint job fair at Parks College in Cahokia today and Saturday. Organizers say they want to hire 4,000 aerospace workers, about half of them machinists.

"We are not specifically targeting the striking workers," organizer Cyndi Roth said. "We are targeting aviation workers."

Roth acknowledged that the timing of the job fair is not random.

"We made the decision to come here prior to the strike," she said. "We heard there might be one, and we heard they were laying off, and that is why we came to St. Louis."

About 6,700 members of the International Association of Machinists District 837 struck McDonnell on June 5. The main dispute is over job security.

McDonnell says it is hiring temporary employees to take over the jobs of the machinists and is also using engineers and others to try to build aircraft and missiles.

Wichita is suffering a shortage of skilled labor.

Cessna, Lear and Raytheon build business jets there, and Boeing builds the 737 and 777 passenger aircraft. Machinists at all four plants are re presented by the International Association of Machinists.

Roth said the four companies got together, along with Wichita economic development officials, to jointly recruit aerospace workers.

"The positions are a combination of union and nonunion," she said. They typically offer pay and benefits comparable to McDonnell.

Roth said Cessna, Lear, Raytheon and Boeing will have managers at the fair and will make job offers on the spot.

She said the companies need machinists with a variety of skills - i nspectors, air-frame and powerplant mechanics, assemblers and others.

McDonnell spokesman Tom Williams said he wasn't surprised that other aerospace companies would want to hire machinists on strike.

While McDonnell laid off 500 machinists earlier this year, other aerospace companies have been hiring.

"We are recruiting for assembly machinist positions and other hourly positions," said Peter Conte, a Boeing spokesman. Boeing needs to hire 8,700 people, many of them machinists, for its plants in Washington state and elsewhere.

Conte said the rush to hire is propelled by the vigorous sales of Boeing's 737, 747, 767 and 777 passenger aircraft.

Machinists struck Boeing last year over the same issue that provoked the strike here - job security.

The machinists union said the job security wording in its Boeing contract is good protection for its workers, and they would like to win the same protection at McDonnell.

Matt Bates, a union spokesman, said anyone leaving McDonnell in St. Louis for Boeing in Wichita will probably be heading for a better job. Boeing pays better, he said, and the jobs are secure. …

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